News Challenge launches with an OpenIDEO twist

Today, as we open the first Knight News Challenge of 2013 on Open Gov, we’re looking for answers to one central question:  “How might we improve the way citizens and governments interact?”  We think that new tools and approaches are giving citizens to drive change, and we’ve crafted a News Challenge to help deliver on that potential. Related Link

Tips for submitting an awesome News Challenge application” by Chris Sopher on KnightBlog

News Challenge on Open Gov: Submit now, not later” by John Bracken on KnightBlog

To get there, we are partnering with OpenIDEO, a division of the design and innovation firm IDEO, on a new platform we hope will  not only improve the challenge application process but also open the conversation to more people while pushing creative thinking. The first difference you’ll notice is the introduction of contest stages –  the Inspiration phase starts today. We are looking for a range of people – innovators, community leaders, government officials – to share their ideas, hopes and needs for improving civic life.   We’ll be featuring these inspirations throughout the challenge to help spur more ideas. When that stage ends on Feb. 19, we’ll open the contest to submissions. (A full list and timeline of the stages follows.) In the end, we hope to find and fund ideas – big and small – that rethink the relationship between people and governments. Our definition for Open Gov is broad, and includes innovative ideas for anything from data transparency to citizen participation. We’re looking forward to this, and hope you’ll join us on this journey. Here’s the timeline for the Knight News Challenge on Open Gov. Inspiration: (Feb. 12 – Feb. 19) At the beginning of the challenge we invite everyone to post obstacles, solutions and existing projects. These ‘thought starters’ help us gain a better understanding of the problem area and potentially form the basis for the ideas that others propose. You can post an inspiration whether or not you have a project idea. Submission: (Feb. 19 – Mar. 18) This is where you submit your idea. The best entries are concise, clear and visual – you can easily upload images and videos. To maximize the benefit of feedback, apply early, as submissions can be edited at any point. (For more submission tips, read Kio Stark’s blog post from last year on how to make your News Challenge application stand out. Feedback: (Mar. 18 – Mar. 29) After submissions close, we’ll keep the conversation going by keeping the site open for comments. We invite everyone to ask questions and connect with the community. Refinement: (Mar. 29 – Apr. 5) The refinement phase allows semifinalists to utilize feedback, edit entries and clarify questions that may have come up in the comments. Evaluation: (Apr. 5 – June 10) During the closed evaluation we’ll seek advice from outside advisors, conduct due diligence, interview the finalists face-to-face and recommend to our trustees which projects to fund. Winners: (June 24-25) We’ll announce winners at the Civic Media Conference at MIT!

By Chris Barr, media innovation associate at Knight Foundation

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