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    This piece is one of a series that looks at the Knight News Challenge winners, and their thoughts on future trends, on the occasion of the challenge’s 10th anniversary. There is no other way to say it: Growth at Crisis Text Line – an emergency service for people at wit’s end – is, sadly, explosive.In October, the four-year-old service crossed a major milestone when it processed its 50 millionth text message. That is the number 50, followed by six zeroes.If that doesn’t really capture the organization’s progress, try this number on for impact:“If you look at our growth trajectory,” says founder Nancy Lublin, “it’s going to take us nine months to do the next 50 million. We’re growing really fast.”She says there are two main reasons why Crisis Text Line, which won a 2014 Knight News Challenge and has received subsequent funding from the foundation, is seeing its numbers skyrocket.
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    This piece is one of a series that looks at the Knight News Challenge winners, and their thoughts on future trends, on the occasion of the challenge’s 10th anniversary. Aron Pilhofer, co-founder of DocumentCloud, was running a product technology team at The New York Times and experiencing great frustration with the way journalists there – and at most newspapers – published documents online.
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    The year 2007 marked a turn in the history of the internet: Twitter made its debut at SXSW, Facebook grew beyond college dorms, YouTube co-hosted its first Presidential debates, and Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone. Flush with optimism about technology’s potential, Knight Foundation in 2007 announced the winners of the first Knight News Challenge. Open to anyone, the challenge set out to explore new ways of using digital media to accomplish what newspapers did so well in the 20th century: Provide news and information that foster community in towns and cities.In 10 years, Knight reviewed more than 10,000 News Challenge applications and provided more than $50 million in funding to 190 projects. Winners include leading internet entrepreneurs, emerging media innovators and established newsrooms. But despite innovations, journalism’s business model is still faltering. And early optimism about technology’s power to transform the world for good has been tarnished by concerns about false information, bullying and the loss of the public square.
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    Today, Knight Foundation and Rita Allen Foundation released a new report on the emerging civic tech industry. "Scaling Civic Tech: Paths to a Sustainable Future” reveals opportunities and challenges faced by organizations working to connect citizens with their government when seeking to scale and become financially sustainable. 
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    In June, Knight Foundation sent a cohort of U.S. librarians from institutions around the country to the Next Library Conference, an annual gathering held in Aarhus, Denmark that brings together library leaders from around the world to discuss innovative programs, services and ideas in the field. 20 U.S. librarians from 11 cities joined hundreds of colleagues who attended the conference from around the globe, from China to Kenya to the Caribbean.
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    Every morning during the usually merry month of May, I received a text message from a mysterious source asking me to draw a card. After exchanging pleasantries, this entity, named The End, would provide me with a password to enter a web portal. There, I’d find a link to a video of a New Orleans funeral, say, or to a portrait gallery of adults recreating decades-old photographs taken during their youth. Primed to muse on the special people, places and things in my life, I was ready to pursue a quest.