We recently completed an assessment of the early Knight News Challenge winners (2007 and 2008), taking a closer look at the outcomes they’ve achieved in their targeted communities, their challenges, progress and influence on the field of media and journalism. We’ve displayed the report highlights in an infographic and a SlideShare presentation that we built in partnership with the design firm Kiss Me I’m Polish.
Certain key insights and lessons stood out for us.
Here are four things we noticed about successful media innovation projects:
1. Knowing Your Niche – Projects that stayed close to their community, and adapted with it, found success in unexpected places. A good example of this is Freedom Fone, a two-way, phone-based information service (e.g. audio menus, SMS and voice messages), which discovered a niche by working with community radio stations in Africa that had been denied broadcasting licenses. A growing number of stations have used Freedom Fone’s VoIP technology to enable them to continue to reach their audiences (and now often with added interactivity).
2. Building Community – Whether it had a fancy design or promised the next whiz bang tool, projects’ success hinged on how well they engaged their users. For example, EveryBlock didn’t gain significant traction until...