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.
Build an engaging tool that helps readers discover previously unexplored news items that their “opposite” (politically, demographically, geographically) reads instead of news stories endlessly aggregated across their own narrow social networks.
This is a distinct product. Over the course of extensive conversations with journalists, developers and readers, we haven’t found anything similar. Current news/information sharing applications — e.g. Washington Post Social Reader — focus on bringing together people already tightly clustered in social networks.
The project will draw upon a few different existing networks — including Twitter, Facebook, Longreads and Instapaper as well as the link relationships between political bloggers themselves — and apply a sort of inverted collaborative filtering to find readers with opposite reading habits from the user and identify popular content least likely to exist in a user’s own network.
In a word, curiosity.
The internet can exacerbate our natural tendency towards homophily — birds of a feather flocking together — or it can mediate that same impulse. Aside from OkCupid’s “enemy” rating, there are very few online opportunities to be presented with people who oppose rather than mirror your preferences.
Sometimes our news consumption feels a bit too much like this Portlandia sketch:
Given the election season, we’ll do an initial demo doing a simple left-right political axis to start categorizing sources. The solution for surfacing these opposites is technically challenging and would include both link analysis and data from a very brief user survey. However, we expect that this project will be iterative as we move to greater sophistication about notions of difference.
The team is still in formation but consists of a cross-section of journalists, programmers and digital strategists. As we continue to build the team, we are looking for a cross-section of geographies and media diets.
Amina Sow, Digital Strategist; Tech LadyMafia
Andrei Scheinkman, Interactive News, Huffington Post (Technical lead)
Ann Friedman, Executive Editor, GOOD Magazine
Anna Totten, UX Designer, Carnevale Interactive
Elana Berkowitz, McKinsey; New America Foundation’s Open Technology Initiative
Laura McGann, Money& Politics Editor, POLITICO
We’re in talks with media organizations and content distributors to assess their needs and form partnerships.
This project is also an opportunity to have a dialogue with news producers and consumers about how they define and interpret the idea of “opposite.” Those conversations are ongoing.
DifferentFeather needs funding to get started but has strong commercial prospects for its growth beyond the life of a Knight Grant. The tool will be built on open-source software, as required by Knight, but will have two routes to financial viability. First, analytics would be available to media partners willing to pay for access to certain information about the user community (users would be given opt-out choices). Second, the product has the potential for multiple versions: one free and others paid. Tiered licenses for media outlets would be available based on the level of customization.