Knight News Challenge on mobile now open for apps

Journalism / Article

Photo Credit: Flickr user girl_onthe_les

The Knight News Challenge on mobile is now open for your applications.  

We’re asking eight questions. We’re asking you to make the case for your idea on using mobile to improve news, information, democracy and communities, and your ability to execute on it. We also encourage you to link to anything that helps you to make that case.

We’re giving you just three weeks to submit your ideas– the deadline to apply is noon EDT on Sept. 10. For just 10-12 sentences, you have a shot at a share of $5 million, and advice from Knight’s network of media entrepreneurs to help accelerate your idea. All applications are open and will be posted to our Tumblr site. If you don’t want yours to be public, you can send it to us by e-mail at [email protected]

Two days after we announced the News Challenge on mobile, Time Magazine released its “Wireless Issue.” Time’s Richard Stengel argued that “the mobile phone has ­become a kind of super­extension of ourselves — faster, brainier, more reliable and always on.” “It is hard to think of any tool, any instrument, any object in history with which so many developed so close a relationship so quickly as we have with our phones,” wrote his colleague Nancy Gibbs. Earlier this week, the mobile analytics company Flurry announced a finding that the adoption of the smart phone “has surpassed that of any consumer technology in history…10X faster than that of the 80s PC revolution, 2X faster than that of 90s Internet Boom and 3X faster than that of recent social network adoption.”

Despite these trends, we maintain an ambiguous relationship with this tool. We like restaurants that ban them. We engage in potentially dangerous behaviour, like using them while driving or carrying them in our pockets. We’re unsure how to earn revenue from them. We’re passing laws like California’s Location Privacy Act, which seeks to make it more difficult for law enforcement to collect data from our mobile devices. Through all these questions, we’re trying to make sense of the “faster, brainier super­extension of ourselves” in our pockets.   

We don’t expect to solve these deeper issues through a single challenge, but we are counting on you to help us develop, circulate and improve ideas that will advance our understanding and use of these devices.

Apply now, and learn more through our FAQ.

By John Bracken, director journalism/media innovation at Knight Foundation