Posted on | September 20, 2012 | No Comments
By Joshua Benton, Nieman Journalism Lab
Sept. 20, 2012
Today at the Online News Association’s annual conference in San Francisco, the Knight Foundation will present its newest class of Knight News Challenge winners. This cycle — the second of three this year under Knight’s new harder-better-faster-stronger contest régime — was focused on data, and the six winners are unusually tool-heavy — and heavy on the information needs of communities, Knight’s inclusive framing for a lot of civic-minded data and information that isn’t necessarily transmitted through what traditionalists might consider journalistic enterprises. Ambient community data — in one case, literally from the air around us — can be collected and used in ways that don’t fit into traditional story models. The more notably journalistic grants are aimed at capacity building — like the construction of common databases of election and census data that could be used by journalists (or anyone) anywhere.
This shift to tools has been gradual — this year’s winners look quite different from, say, the first year’s winners, which were more likely to include community journalism projects themselves. I think it’s a smart move. There’s a new infrastructure of digital tools slowly being built that, collectively, will make journalism and journalism-like work easier to do. Many of those ideas come from people in news organizations, but their potential value spreads far beyond one outlet’s boundaries — perhaps making it harder for that outlet to invest the time and money in building and maintaining it. So it makes sense for an outside force to deal with that commons-based issue. (Obligatory disclosure: Knight has also been a funder of the Nieman Journalism Lab.)
The winners will be presented at ONA on Saturday. (As an aside, the Nieman Lab staff will be at ONA this afternoon too, once our flight from Boston lands. We love to meet our readers, so come say hello.) Here are the winners, with Knight’s writeup:
Winners: Amplify Labs, Alicia Rouault, Prashant Singh and Matt Hampel, Detroit
Read the rest of the story at Nieman Journalism Lab.