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.
Launch crowdfunding campaigns for beat coverage of overlooked communities and issues, scaling from 5,000-50,000 donors in two years.
Unlike the crowdfunding norm, Newsfunders.org provides the campaign, and donors fund BEATS, not individual stories. This innovation increases journalistic independence, builds newsroom capacity, and amplifies community voices.
Newsfunders.org will use social platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.), email and events to recruit 5,000 Inaugural Donors each making a $20 tax-deductible donation, with the initial $100,000 disbursed in block grants to qualified, nonprofit, independent news producers. Our two-year goal is to recruit 50,000 donors raising $1 million annually.
1) By funding beats, donors will help set coverage priorities, and ensure that journalists have the independence and resources they need. It’s a better, stronger, more ethical financial relationship.
2) Our initial research indicates that there are core local and national communities that will donate annually to support independent journalism. Our initial goal of 5,000 Inaugural Donors will prototype a community-building campaign model that can iterate and scale nationally.
3) Newsfunders.org will inspire donors and advisers, and deepen accountability and engagement, by providing tools for tracking and rating coverage, measuring impacts, and proposing new beats.
Project Coordinator: Josh Wilson (conference producer, National Alliance for Media Arts & Culture; co-founder, Independent Arts & Media, a fiscal sponsor and project platform for noncommercial media/arts producers; founder, Newsdesk.org, a 2010 SPJ SDX award recipient).
Campaign Design: We received a great bid from Free Range Studios (http://freerange.com/), and are researching options.
Seed Funding: $5,000 from the Harnisch Foundation.
Advisory Board: Kevin Davis (Investigative News Network), Josh Stearns (Free Press), Nathaniel James (@NewGiving), Kwan Booth (OaklandLocal.com), Linda Jue (G.W. Williams Center), Lila LaHood and Michael Stoll (SF Public Press), Anna Tarkov (journalist and media consultant).
* Newsfunders.org conducted an initial survey of potential donors at the 2011 National Conference on Media Reform in Boston. The survey collected demographic and opinion data, and developed an early project mailing list. Surveying will remain a vital recruiting and development mechanism.
* The Newsfunders.org project wiki (www.newsfunders.org/wiki/) has been launched as a venue for structured but open-source project planning, recruiting, research and advocacy.
* Newsfunders.org is a project of Independent Arts & Media, which provides a 501(c)(3) administrative structure to oversee business operations.
Newsfunders.org will fund itself through a 7% administrative fee on donations received, which donors can offset or supplement with an additional gift at the end of their transaction, like Kiva.
By scaling and diversifying individual-donor communities, and developing endowment and grant funding, Newsfunders will build and sustain its operational budget.