How the Knight News Challenge was Born

Journalism / Article

Jose Zamora is a Journalism Program Associate at Knight Foundation For a century, daily newspapers were the civic glue holding many American communities together. But today new technologies are rapidly changing the way we connect with each other.

First it was the rise of television. Now, it’s the internet. Most of us use cell phones and other gadgets to find out what we want to know. Though technology connects us with the world, it can leave us disconnected from those right in our own backyards.

Knight Foundation wanted to help people use the new digital tools to find out what they need to know to run their lives and their communities.

Our founders, John S. and James L. Knight, served their communities with their newspapers. News and information that helped citizens in communities understand their common interests and opportunities. Knight Foundation wanted to know what, in the 21st century, will do what the Knight brothers used to do with ink on paper alone.

To reach this goal, Knight Foundation created the Knight News Challenge: A five-year, $25 million contest designed to spur media innovation.

We didn’t want to limit the ideas by setting up too many rules, and that is how the contest was born, a worldwide open contest with very few questions and requirements. Worldwide because you never know where innovation will come from.

The deadline for year four of the contest is Oct. 15, 2009. Don’t miss the opportunity to win part of the $5 million that will be awarded on this round.