Knight News Challenge

The Knight News Challenge accelerates media innovation by funding breakthrough ideas in news and information. Winners receive a share of $5 million in funding and support from Knight’s network of influential peers and advisors to help advance their ideas.

Throughout 2012, innovators from all industries and countries are invited to participate in three challenge rounds, each with focused topics on emerging trends.

Round 1 - on networks - is closed, and the winners will be announced June 18.

Round 2 - on data - will be open May 31 - June 21. We’re looking for new ways of collecting, understanding, visualizing and helping the public use the large amounts of information generated each day. Winners will be announced in late September.

Details on Round 3 will available later this year.

Anyone, anywhere can apply for the challenge - whether for-profit start-ups or non-profit ventures. For more information on a variety of topics - from guidelines for for-profits, on intellectual property licensing, open source software and more - visit our FAQ.

Alive.in/ Video Journalism from the Frontlines

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

Develop alive.in/ as a social network for content from international video journalists, using our mobile app, and youtube directly.

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

GlobalVoices is similar, however, they focus on curating bloggers. Video is so essential to documenting recent, global events that video journalism will be the primary focus of alive.in/.

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

The Alive.in/ social network will leverage our existing brand to promote the power of networked citizen journalists. Filtering content from networked activists and journalists on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, regional coordinators sift through local language media and interact with original producers to improve their storytelling skills.

4. Why will it work? [100 words]

Alive.in/Egypt and Alive.in/Libya were hugely successful during 2011, seeing traffic increase ten times and bounce rates increase from 10% to more than 80% during major media events. What created this ongoing, sustainable success was not providing a channel for news — journalists have that — but fostering relationships with local producers and providing training on how to create better, more informative pieces.  We believe our work harnesses what is currently missing in the Internet ecosystem: an international social network for citizen journalism that operates at the speed of trends & social media.

5. Who is working on it? [100 words]

Small World News is a global team of journalists, developers, and educators.  Brian Conley is an experienced trainer who has worked with hundreds of citizens in six countries, he will oversee our regional coordinators. Steve Wyshywaniuk oversees the design of training materials and content development. Rob Baker specializes in mobile technology, new media strategy and will lead technical development of the project. Regional coordinators will be selected from our network of students, to provide a broad capacity to curate and intake content from a variety of languages and regions.

6. What part of the project have you already built? [100 words]

Alive.in/ is a collection of ad-hoc, locally networked citizen journalists promoting their work online through websites we’ve established for them, some dating back to 2005. These pilot programs established best practices, produced hundreds of localized pieces, and honed the original training we’ve provided through connecting them under our brand. Knight’s funding will enable the creation of the first social network for citizen journalism, curating international video journalism in real-time to a single location, as well as leverage the Alive.in/ mobile app being developed to facilitate story generation and submissions.

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

It is our hope that by creating the first social network for citizen journalists and delivering better, television-quality output, we can sustain this project by taking a percentage of ad revenue and sales to news agencies before returning the majority to the members of the Alive.in/ network.

Requested amount from Knight News Challenge: $240,000
Expected amount of time required to complete project: one year
Total Project Cost: $100,000

Name: Steve Wyshywaniuk
Twitter: @smallworldnews
Organization: Small World News
Country: USA