Articles by

Nina Zenni

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    The submissions phase for our next Knight News Challenge on Libraries is right around the corner, and we’re excited about all the ideas you might have to answer the question: How might libraries serve 21st century information needs? Before the challenge opens for submissions on Wednesday, Feb. 24, there will be several opportunities for you to hear from us and ask questions about the challenge. The first is this week. On Thursday, Feb. 11, at 3 p.m. ET, join Chris Barr, Knight’s director of media innovation, and previous Knight News Challenge winners Jason Griffey and Jenica Rogers of the Measure the Future project, to explore the future of libraries and potential ideas for the challenge during an Online Computer Library Center webinar. We also have three virtual office hours planned, on Feb. 11, 25 and March 16, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. ET each day. You can chat with members of Knight’s Media Innovation team, ask questions about the application process and discuss your ideas. Access the meetings online using ID 451 981 706 or participate via phone by calling (888) 240-2560. To wrap up events in February, Knight’s John Bracken will be hosting a reddit Ask Me Anything chat on Feb. 29 at 7 p.m. ET. To join, go to reddit IAmA.  Until then, if you are interested in learning more, please visit newschallenge.org, the Knight Blog or follow #newschallenge on Twitter for updates. You can also reach us with questions on Twitter via @knightfdn, @heychrisbarr, or via e-mail at [email protected] You can sign up for News Challenge alerts here. Nina Zenni is a media innovation associate for Knight Foundation. Email her at [email protected]
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    We’re at the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting this weekend, where we are announcing that the next Knight News Challenge will open for ideas on Feb. 24. Our question: How might libraries serve 21st century information needs? Challenge winners will receive a share of $3 million in funding to develop their projects. In the fall of 2014, we launched our first Knight News Challenge on Libraries. We discovered  a broad range of projects and teams focusing on making libraries more vibrant members of their  communities. For centuries, libraries have been keepers of public knowledge, spaces for human connection, and educators for the next generations of learners. For this challenge, we hope to unearth new ways to advance libraries to meet the needs of their communities and carry these ideals into the future. Here’s what you need to know before the challenge opens:
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    This week a set of 18 advisers helped us select a group of semifinalists for Knight News Challenge: Data. We received 1,065 applications, and we are excited to announce that 46 projects (one entry is private) will move forward as semifinalists. These projects will have until Monday, Oct. 26, to refine their entries and provide further information for the next set of advisers, who will help us choose the finalists. We will notify finalists on Friday, Nov. 6. This was Knight Foundation’s second News Challenge on Data. The challenge, which closed Sept. 30, asked the question: How might we make data work for individuals and communities? We received applications from all over the world and believe these projects demonstrate the ambition, dedication and diversity of organizations and individuals concerned about how data can foster a culture of engagement. Several themes emerged among the applications we received, including civic data mobilization, data literacy and education, data visualization, data for anti-discrimination and diversity, tools for journalists, open data for governments, data accessibility and more. While the majority of the proposals we received won’t be moving forward, our commitment to data projects extends beyond this challenge; we are constantly on the lookout for great ideas. Additionally, during the review process we will identify ideas that align with our Knight Prototype Fund, which provides seed funding for people to test assumptions and refine early-stage projects. Thanks to everyone who has joined us in making this challenge a success—with a special thanks to our advisers who helped review entries. As we move forward with the refinement stage, we look forward to the review process, learning more about these projects and selecting a group of finalists. Winners, who will share in more than $3 million, will be announced in January. Please follow our progress at knightblog.org, on the challenge platform at newschallenge.org or on Twitter using #newschallenge. Nina Zenni is a media innovation associate at Knight Foundation. Email her at [email protected]
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    Photo credit: Flickr user Mike Boening Photography. This weekend, Knight Foundation is headed to the third annual Platform Summit in Atlanta, from Oct. 2-4, as part of our support for diversity within the innovation economy. The Platform Summit, which is supported in part by Knight Foundation, is being held at the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center at Morehouse College. It is an initiative of the nonprofit organization Platform, which seeks to catalyze dialogue around increasing opportunity and involvement for underrepresented communities in technology and entrepreneurship. We’ll be at the conference discussing current funding opportunities at Knight, including the Knight Prototype Fund, which is open for applications until Monday, Nov. 16, as well as the Knight Cities Challenge, which is open for submissions until Tuesday, Oct. 27. Additionally, we will be discussing how you can be a part of the conversation surrounding the Knight News Challenge on Data, which closed Wednesday with more than 1,000 applications.  
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    Photo credit: Flickr user Bob Mical  The Knight News Challenge on Data is now closed. Thank you to everyone who submitted ideas and participated in the conversation. We received more than 1,000 submissions. Here’s what happens next. Through Oct. 20, we will review the submissions. During the review process, applicants and interested parties may join us and our team of readers to ask questions and provide feedback. As a team, we read every application we receive. However, we have assembled a spectacular group of 16 experts in the field to join us as initial readers. The readers will go through each application and advise us as we select the semifinalists. Applicants will be able to interact directly with these readers on our open submission platform. They can be identified at newschallenge.org by the “reader” tag on their profile photos. If a project receives feedback or questions on the site, applicants will be notified via email and will have the opportunity to respond and to incorporate any changes into their entry. However, if you choose to edit your application, make sure to do so promptly as there is a chance the readers may never see these changes if you do so later in the review process.
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      The Knight News Challenge on Data is open through 5 p.m. ET Sept. 30 for your ideas on how to make data work for individuals and communities. It’s your chance to share in more than $3 million. With less than three days left, we want to provide you with some answers to commonly asked questions during our most recent virtual office hours. (You can also check out our FAQ and application tips and newschallenge.org) What are you looking for in the “description” field? This is your opportunity to explain what your project is, what you hope to achieve and why your project is innovative. There are no restrictions on what you can and cannot mention in this section. Just remember to be as clear and concise as possible. We are looking for applicants who can explain their projects in laymen’s terms. What do you mean by “innovation”? We believe that innovation can stem from any type of organization, whether you are a small startup, nonprofit, established organization, for-profit, individual, government entity or university. We are more interested in the idea itself at this stage. Here are some thoughts from Knight President Alberto Ibargüen on the work we do. What level of technical detail is needed at this stage of the application process? At this point, we are not requiring an extensive explanation of the technology behind your project. However, it is important to say why your project is innovative. Whether your technology is being used in an innovative way or if the technology itself is innovative, that is worth noting. In the next phase of our review, we ask semifinalists for more detail regarding the technology and intended users. 
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    Knight News Challenge: Data The Knight News Challenge on Data is now open for ideas through 5 p.m. ET Sept. 30. This News Challenge, our 14th, reflects Knight Foundation’s ongoing support for projects that use data for good to inform and empower people to make decisions about their lives, communities and democracy. In collaboration with Data & Society and the Open Society Foundations, we are seeking projects that provide an answer to the question: How might we make data work for individuals and communities? Winners will receive a share of $3 million, and we’re seeking ideas from anyone—journalists, startups, civic hackers, academics, media organizations, nonprofits, governments, individuals and more. The challenge is intended to create opportunities to analyze, collect, present, interpret and share data to increase transparency, enhance privacy and security, and improve journalism and storytelling techniques. Here are the main stages of the challenge: 
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    VP/Media Innovation John Bracken explains the 2015 Knight News Challenge on Data from Knight Foundation on Vimeo. The next Knight News Challenge will open for ideas on Sept. 8 with this question: How might we make data work for individuals and communities? In an increasingly data-rich world, we have new opportunities for people to interact with data and technology in ways that improve society. For this challenge, we want to discover ideas that use data to inform and empower people to make decisions about their lives, their democracy and their communities. New technologies and the open data movement have put data in the hands of more people, giving rise to both challenges and opportunities. We want projects that use data to fuel innovation and new ideas, while protecting the rights of individuals and communities. We’re not prescriptive in our approach; we welcome all kinds of ideas from new ways to collect, analyze, present, interpret and share data, to better journalism and data-enhanced storytelling techniques, to ways to promote transparency, security and privacy. Challenge winners will receive a share of $3 million in funding to develop their projects. Here’s what you need to know before the challenge opens for ideas: We are interested in ideas from anyone, including journalists, startups, civic hackers, and academics, to media organizations, businesses, nonprofits, government and individuals. The challenge will open for submissions on Sept. 8 at 9 a.m. ET and close at 5 p.m. ET on Sept. 30. After the challenge closes, we will review every entry we receive, with help from a team of advisers. We will reach out to semifinalists for more information on Oct. 21. We will notify finalists on Nov 6.  We will announce winners in early 2016.
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    Photo: Virtual-reality storytelling demo at University of Texas at Austin. Today we’re announcing the latest recipients of support from the Knight Prototype Fund. Twenty-two projects will join scores of others who have taken ideas from concept to demo since we launched the fund in June 2012.  Check out the full list below, which represents a range of ideas from government, the media, nonprofits, universities, libraries and more. The Prototype Fund serves as our primary tool for funding early-stage media and information projects. The model invites applicants to experiment, learn and iterate before moving on to the more costly stage of building out a project. In addition to receiving $35,000 in funding, Prototype Fund projects go through a six-month process that begins with a three-day course in human-centered design, facilitated by LUMA Institute. Building on that training to better develop their projects, the teams gather six months later for a demo day to share their discoveries and developments.  They join an expanding network of innovators seeking to provide better ways to inform and engage communities with the information that is essential to their lives. Some of the projects may eventually receive additional funding from Knight Foundation to help them scale. Every quarter we announce a new cohort and invite new applications. We’re looking for U.S.-based organizations with projects that explore media, journalism, civic experience, and data and information needs. To learn more and to apply, please visit prototypefund.org.
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    Knight Foundation is headed back to Austin, and this time we’re announcing the winners of the Knight News Challenge on Elections.We’ll deliver the news on Wednesday, July 22, during a one-day conference hosted by the Annette Strauss Institute of Civic Life at the Moody College of Communications at the University of Texas at Austin. “Breaking Through: Increasing Civic Participation Before, During and After Elections will feature an impressive lineup of technologists, journalists, government officials and academics who will share experiences and discuss trends surrounding political civic engagement. We will live-stream the invitation-only event at knightfoundation.org/live.We will kick off the programming with the News Challenge: Elections announcement at 9:30 a.m. CDT, followed by project presentations from each winner. We received more than 1,000 submissions, which were narrowed to 46 finalists. The winners will receive a share of more than $3 million to research and develop new approaches and methods for better informing voters and increasing civic participation throughout the elections process.The challenge opened in February as a collaboration between Knight, the Democracy Fund and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, which each contributed $250,000, and the Rita Allen Foundation, which contributed $150,000. They will be with us in Austin.The conference will continue with the following keynote speeches and ignite talks:11:15 a.m. | “Engagement Voters: How Do People Really Think?”
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    San Francisco photo by Michael Bolden on Flickr. Knight Foundation is headed to San Francisco this week to talk libraries. We believe libraries can be a platform for digital innovation and community engagement, and what better place for that conversation than the 2015 American Library Association conference being held there through Monday. Over the next several days, we will feature several of our initiatives and our grantees during a series of demonstrations, events and panels. Above: John Palfrey discussing his book “BiblioTech” in Miami. Here are some of the ways you can connect with us at the ALA convention: Book signing with Knight Board of Trustees Chair John Palfrey for his new book, “BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google” Following the general opening session, Knight Foundation’s booth will open by continuing the conversation on the future of libraries with a book signing from John Palfrey, a noted author, founding chair of the board of the Digital Public Library of America and head of school at Phillips Academy, Andover.  Please stop by and receive a free copy of “BiblioTech” signed by Palfrey, Friday, June 26, from 5:30-6 p.m. | Moscone Center, South Hall, Booth No. 3731