2008 Knight News Challenge winners announced; aka Why I came to Vegas

The Knight Foundation just announced the 16 winners of the 2008 News Challenge, which give out $5.5 million dollars to fund a set of projects that support tools for online media and citizen journalism, community discourse and empowerment, and grassroots mobile media.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World
Wide Web, received one of the awards for a standards project run by the Media Standards
Trust and the UK-based Web Science Research Initiative that will create a
technology to give users more information about the origins and
sourcing of digital content.

These awards were meaningful to me for a few reasons:

  • I was a judge for 2008
  • Local community, citizen journalism, platform tools, and community-focused mobile are of vital interest to me
  • The conversation between people building tools, aka developers, and people creating content, aka journalists,bloggers, consumers needs to accelerate so that people over 25 start to understand that content and form can’t truly be seperated online (like, the medium actually IS the message.)

The press release says:

  • the number of applicants for Knight News Challenge increased 82 percent
    in its second year, to 3,000
  • the percentage of foreign applicants
    increased to 40 percent from 15 percent in 2007.
  • the contest was
    advertised in 10 languages.
  • there was a new “Young
    Creators'” category to reward the ideas of those who are 25 and younger–and six of this year’s winners are “Young Creators”

The new cycle for funding applications opens in September and goes into the fall; I’m going to be helping Knight with the next cycle and will be posting some ideas about  making the application process work even better and building on what’s come before.( There will be chances to get everyone’s input who wants to contribute.)