Knight News Challenge 2012

We have spent this semester applying new tools to the news and exploring a number of innovations in communication. Now it’s your turn. You will submit an innovation project to the Knight News Challenge. This project “seek(s) innovations that use new or available technology to distribute content in local communities,” and it offers millions of dollars in development awards to make your project a reality.

The Rules

For your project, you’ll come up with a short, simple writeup and presentation of your innovation project and why it deserves some of that money. The latest round of the Knight News Challenge had a focus on networks (you can see the specifics here). Although the March 17 submission deadline is now closed, we’ll use this as our format too. From the KNC site:

The Networks challenge round seeks projects that use the best of existing software and platforms – those already integrated into people’s lives – to find new ways to convey news and information. Winners will be announced in June. Future categories will be announced later this year. Each of the three rounds will be eight to 10 weeks long, for shorter, more focused contests that better mirror the pace of innovation. Anyone, anywhere can apply.

The rules are available here (READ THIS), but overall you should:

  1. Use digital, open-source technology.
  2. Distribute news in the public interest.

You do NOT need to be a technical maestro (but it helps if you can find one to work with). You just need an idea that meets the above criteria and a pitch for why it’s worth funding – the Knight money will cover development and promotion. Past entrants have incorporated SHORT video pitches – this is not required, but you might want to consider it.

The Proposal

Your proposal will be a short writeup with seven sections – please note the word counts (they’re serious about these):

0. Name of your project (e.g., “Factlink,” “Bias Map”)

1. What do you propose to do? [20 words]

2. Is anyone doing something like this now, and how is your project different? [30 words]

3. Describe the network with which you intend to build or work. [50 words]

4. Why will it work? [100 words]

5. Who is working on it? [100 words] – NOTE: You probably don’t have an existing team, so just discuss who might be involved.

6. What part of the project have you already built? [100 words] – NOTE: Again, you probably don’t have anything built yet, so you can discuss a little about any existing resources you may have here.

7. How would you sustain the project after the funding expires? [50 words]


  • A writeup of your proposal. These are not long (a page or two) but must be detailed and address each of the seven KNC questions (see above). See past proposals on the site for examples. DUE IN CLASS APRIL 17
  • A presentation of your proposal. These, likewise, are not long – 5 to 10 minutes – and use of visual and digital techniques is STRONGLY encouraged. We’ll discuss these in the weeks before the due date to help firm up your ideas. DUE IN CLASS APRIL 24

Useful links:

A final note: The requirements of this assignment have changed to what’s listed here now. If you’ve already started on the previous assignment (rules listed here) and don’t think you can change to fit this format, you can continue with that format – just let me know so I’m not surprised by your submission.

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