Articles by

Jose C. Zamora

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    Note: To apply for the News Challenge, and read our FAQ, visit NewsChallenge.org. Improve your Knight News Challenge application and your chance of becoming a finalist by doing some basic research. Make sure you do the necessary research to show that you have a unique idea or a project that combines things that already exist to provide a product, process or service in a totally new way. You want to demonstrate that your project is better, more efficient or different from what already exists. The main goal is for you to know and be able to convey that you are not reinventing the wheel. And in this round of the challenge you want to demonstrate that you are using networks and tools that already exist to inform and engage users. You will have a great advantage in the contest if you are able to show that: • You know the landscape of the field and the project you are proposing to do. • You are able to explain why your idea/project is different or better than everything else that is out there.
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      Photo Credit: John R. Rogers I and several of my Knight colleagues will be at SXSW Interactive in Austin through next week, where we will be involved in more than a dozen events and looking out for experiments helping to move society forward. At Knight, we believe information is vital to communities - and that new technologies are essential to delivering the information communities need on important issues. Four years ago, when we started coming to SXSW, we were seeking journalism and media innovation entrepreneurs. Today, we are expanding our search to community builders interested in using technology for engagement, in addition to artists and entrepreneurs looking to inform and engage communities. We'll be demoing projects Monday and Tuesday at our trade show booth, supporting the accelerator competition and are excited by the Knight-funded projects presenting this year. Here are a few: Tonight at 5 p.m., Knight Foundation Trustee and MIT’s Media Lab director Joi Ito will participate in a panel and demo of some of the most exciting projects at the Media Lab. Also at 5 p.m., PRX CEO and Knight News Challenge winner Jake Shapiro will give a keynote on the Future of Public Media. (His talk follows yesterday’s announcement about the Knight-funded Public Media Accelerator's new director.) Saturday night, we are partnering with Mozilla and MIT’s Media Lab for a media innovation fair at Brush Square Park, showcasing exciting projects. The innovation fair will close with a performance by Filastine. On Sunday, Knight News Challenge winner Kara Oheler, from Zeega, will participate on a panel on public media as transmedia from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. A panel on Civic Media Projects in Latin America will be held at 3:30 p.m. Monday, and will be led by Knight News Challenge reviewer Luisa Ortiz and Knight News Challenge winners Yesica Guerra, from Crónicas de Héroes, and Miguel Paz from Poderopedia. Monday kicks off the SXSW Accelerator from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Be there to hear the pitches made by this year’s semi-finalists in the News-Related Technologies category. Learn which projects will move to the final stage of the contest on Tuesday, when winners will be announced at 6 p.m.
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    Note: To apply for the News Challenge, and read our FAQ, visit NewsChallenge.org. On Monday, we will open the Knight News Challenge on networks. Just as we have revamped the contest, we have come up with a more streamlined application form. As John explained in our first post and in this video, the challenge is evolving to be offered three times this year, an attempt to be more nimble and move at the pace of technology development. Along with this new focus, we have simplified the application form. Based on conversations with previous News Challenge applicants and outside reviewers, we devised the following seven questions. What do you propose to do? [20 words] Is anyone doing something like this now and how is your project different? [30 words] Describe the network with which you intend to build or work. [50 words] Why will it work? [100 words] Who is working on it? [100 words] What part of the project have you already built? [100 words] How would you sustain the project after the funding expires? [50 words]
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    Note: To apply for the News Challenge, and read our FAQ, visit NewsChallenge.org. Since announcing the first topic for the 2012 Knight News Challenge last week, we’ve received a lot of questions about whether winners will have to release their code as open source.  The short answer is no, but there’s a bit more to it than that. Here’s an explanation of where we’re coming from, and where the challenge is headed on this issue. In the first three years of the contest, all challenge projects were required to develop their projects using open source software. Since the Knight News Challenge is a giant research and development project aiming to accelerate media innovation, using open source makes sense. However, in response to requests from the community, we have worked to find additional funding mechanisms that allow for less strict or no open source requirements. This does not mean that we dropped the open source requirement, but rather that we created new opportunities that allow us to uncover ideas, and innovators, that we don’t have or know. The new funding mechanisms below allow Knight to fund businesses, individuals and nonprofits. Each one has different open source requirements. We started using some of them in years four and five of the contest.
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    The following is crossposted from SXSW's blog Knight Foundation will be back again in full force at SXSW 2012 as a participant in the Trade Show, the presenter of the Accelerator News category and sponsoring the Future of Journalism track of programming. Please mark your calendars and join us at the following events:             March 8 – iMA Conference Key Note             March 10 – Media Innovation Fair at Brush Square Park.             March 12-15 – SXSW Trade Show             March 12-14 – SXSW Accelerator Knight is committed to seeing journalism to its best possible future. Over the past four years, they have invested more than $100 million in a Media Innovation Initiative. So far, our funding has helped launch more than 200 community news experiments. 
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    Knight Foundation is excited to participate in South by Southwest Interactive next March and sponsor the SXSW Accelerator Competition. Last year, we launched a new track for News-Related Technologies and we will continue supporting it this year. In fact, applications for the contest are due by next Friday, Nov. 18, at: sxsw.com/interactive/accelerator. At Knight, we are committed to seeing journalism to its best possible future. Over the past four years, we have invested more than $100 million in a Media Innovation Initiative, to among other things experiment with new media models for journalism. So far, our funding has helped launch more than 200 community news experiments. If you are a current grantee or a media innovator who is passionate about using journalism and technology to inform and engage communities, we want to meet you. We are eager to discover interesting projects, meet potential grantees or Knight News Challenge winners and learn about new technologies.
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      The Knight-Mozilla News Technology Partnership is starting to produce some very interesting ideas. I recently browsed through projects proposed by the 60+ participants of the program’s Learning Lab, which is just one aspect of the program that aims to speed media innovation in newsrooms. What I like most about these projects is that they provide concepts that any media organization can use. Some of the ideas could be easily implemented using the resources media organizations already have.  
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    Photos by Teru Kuwayama Foreign Policy magazine highlights Basetrack, a 2010 Knight News Challenge winner and social media reporting project that accompanied the First Battalion, Eighth Marines for the first five months of their deployment in Afghanistan.  The piece gives unique insight into life in war with a photo-essay of images taken with an iPhone. “It is by no means a comprehensive look at 10 years of war, but it is an evocative and profound slice of life -- at the beginning of the end of the longest conflict in U.S. history,” writes Foreign Policy. Basetrack builds on project director Teru Kuwayama’s nine years of experience working as a freelance journalist in Afghanistan.  Kuwayama wanted to counteract the problem many journalists had in presenting in-depth content because of their short embed periods by ...
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    A new digital media incubator launched today in Philadelphia will help promote media innovation by providing startups with a launching pad and creating a culture of innovation in the region. 87 percent of new companies that benefit from completing an incubation program tend to stay in business according to the National Business Incubation Association. Insights from the Knight News Challenge and our work in media innovation also show that the most successful media innovation projects are nurtured. The project experiments with a new model we hope will benefit digital media startups, traditional news organizations and Philadelphia, one of Knight Foundation’s resident communities and the fourth largest media market in the U.S. according to Nielsen.
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    Knight News Challenge finalists have great ideas to speed media innovation. However, like all entrepreneurs and innovators, they need to create an organization that has a legal structure in order to develop their ideas. Deciding how to incorporate a media innovation or online publishing project is important. The legal structure will have an impact on the organization's liability for defamation and other claims. It will also have an impact on the organization's tax obligations, its assets and its management. Many of Knight Foundation’s journalism and media innovation grantees have structured their operations as nonprofits. Some examples include Spot.us, DocumentCloud, ProPublica, Voice of San Diego, Texas Tribune and Bay Citizen. However, a 501 (c)(3) is not for everyone. Other grantees have chosen to incorporate as for-profit companies, like NowSpots and Front Porch Forum. Choosing the best legal structure is not easy; there are many considerations that need to be taken into account. Here are two useful resources that might help you figure out the best structure for your start-up: For Love or Lucre by Jim Fruchterman, published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review. How to decide: nonprofit vs. for-profit [SLIDES] by Ben Wirz, Knight Foundation’s Director of Business Consulting. You can learn more about how to set-up the legal framework for your organization on the Creating a Business page on the Citizen Media Law Project Web site. If you prefer one business structure over another, please tell us why and comment below. And look out for the announcement of the 2011 News Challenge winners on June 22.