Five new Knight Prototype Fund projects will improve journalism and storytelling

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS — (JUNE 20, 2013) — Knight Foundation today announced the funding of five new projects from the Knight Prototype Fund, which helps journalists, developers and tinkerers take media innovations from idea to demonstration.

Led by a range of public media innovators, from American Public Media to PBS MediaShift and WBEZ Chicago, each project leverages the power of technology to help journalists improve the speed and depth of their reporting. One involves creating an experimental community news site that lets citizens make suggestions and participate in stories as they are developed, while another allows journalists to convert PDF image files into structured data providing easier access to government information.

Prototype Fund investments offer up to $50,000 in funding to help innovators test projects that are in the early stages of development. Along the way, they can learn and refine a concept before going onto the more costly stage of building it out.  Knight can then help scale projects that show promise.

The announcement was made at the 2013 Investigative Reporter and Editors Conference in San Antonio, Texas, underscoring the main goal of all five of the projects to improve the work of journalists and storytellers.

“The field of journalism is changing every day. To keep up, storytellers need to be as creative and enterprising about how they deliver the news as they are about the way they tell the important stories of our day,” said Chris Barr, who leads the Knight Prototype Fund. “By testing ideas that further this goal, we are supporting continuous innovation to better meet the information needs of communities.”

The projects receiving investments that were announced today include:

WBEZ’s Curious City: A co-production of AIR, Chicago Public Media, and Jennifer Brandel, the project offers an experimental Internet-based model for community-powered content creation online and on-air and empowers the public to suggest, vote on and participate in stories as they are reported.

American Public Media – Audio Search: Providing a full-text search of audio files using open source software so that public media organizations can have access to a large archive of audio material through search engines.

Transom Online Workshop: Providing new methods of training journalists and improving storytelling skills via online multimedia.

Raleigh Public Record – DocHive: Providing a tool to convert PDF image files into structured data so that journalists and transparency advocates can easily extract information from government documents.

PBS MediaShift CollabMatch: CollabMatch is a matchmaking service for collaborators. The service, produced by PBS MediaShift, will help media makers and others reach beyond their known circles to find qualified collaborators to help them create deeper, quality projects.

Six additional prototype grants will be announced next week at the 2013 MIT-Knight Civic Media Conference, where the winners of the Knight News Challenge Open Gov will be announced.

The Knight Prototype Fund continually accepts applications at

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit


Anusha Alikhan, Director of Communications (305) 908-2646, [email protected]