2010 Knight News Challenge Winners Announced

By: E&P Staff

The dozen winners of the 2010 Knight News Challenge, a contest that funds concepts that utilize digital technology for the public good, have been announced.

The winners will split $2.74 million in grants from the Knight Foundation to see their ideas brought to fruition. This year marks the fourth round of the five-year international competition.

The top winner was CityTracking (which receives $400,000 for funding), developed by Eric Rodenbeck and Stamen Design, a San Francisco-based mapping and data visualization design studio. The concept: to take municipal data and make it visually appealing and easier to understand by having users create embeddable data visualizations that can be spread virally on the Web.

The second-highest concept to be funded is The Cartoonist ($378,000), submitted by Ian Bogost and Michael Mateas. The pair looks to engage readers in the news by creating a free tool that produces cartoon-like current event games. After answering a series of questions both factual and ethical about the major players in a news event, The Cartoonist will create a game based on the responses.

Local Wiki, the third-highest-funded idea ($350,000) is Philip Neustrom and Mike Ivanov’s project that seeks to create enhanced tools for local wikis (through which users can share knowledge of a particular community or area). Based on the DavisWiki.org in Davis, Calif., Local Wiki will use a specialized open-source software for users to post stories and photos and also edit others’ contributions.  

WindyCitizen’s Real-Time Ads ($250,000) will develop an improved software interface to help Websites create and sell “real-time ads” designed to constantly change, offering updated information.

GoMap Riga ($250,000) will create a live, online map with local news and activities, and users will have the ability to add their own news, pictures and videos. The map will be integrated with the major existing social networks, and will be tested in Riga, Latvia.

Developed by Boston newsman John Davidow, Order in the Court 2.0 ($250,000) looks to encourage access to the judicial process by creating a media laboratory in a Boston courtroom to help establish new best practices for digital coverage.

The Front Porch Forum ($220,000) looks to revitalize a virtual town hall space in which residents can share and discuss local news, build community and increase engagement. The site currently serves 25 Vermont towns, and will expand to 250.

The other winners are: One-Eight ($202,000), a project that will chronicle a battalion based in Afghanistan using reporting from embedded journalists with user-generated content from the Marines themselves; Stroome ($200,000), which will create a virtual video-editing studio in which correspondents, editors and producers will be able to upload and share content, edit and remix with friends and colleagues; CitySeed ($90,000), a mobile application that allows users to come up with community-improving projects and “geotag” them, linking to exact locations; PRX StoryMarket ($75,000), which builds on the software created by 2008 challenge winner Spot.us to enable anyone to pitch and help pay to produce a story for a local public radio station; and Tilemapping ($74,000), which will help local media create hyperlocal, data-filled maps for their Websites and blogs. Tilemapping was field-tested in Haiti, to map where aid was needed after the earthquake.

The Knight Foundation said nearly half of this year’s winners were private enterprises, up from 15% in 2009. The Foundation has reviewed 10,000 applications and funded 50 projects for $23 million in the past four years.

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