The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has announced the winners of the 2011 Knight News Challenge, a $4.7 million international media contest supporting digital news experiments that inform and engage communities.
Announced at the MIT-Knight Civic Media Conference, the winning ideas include efforts to help newsrooms organize and visualize large data sets in ways that reveal relationships and stories otherwise not imagined; a mobile platform that enables residents of a city in India to learn when water is available; and tools that help verify and display breaking news, and improve the use of government data in the United States. Winners of this year's competition include the Associated Press, which was awarded $475,000 to develop Overview, a tool that will help journalists find stories by cleaning, visualizing, and interactively exploring large amounts of documents and data; Ushahidi, which received $250,000 for SwiftRiver, a platform that will use a combination of techniques to identify trends and evaluate information based on content creators' reputations; and the Miller Center Foundation at the University of Virginia, which was awarded $165,000 for State Decoded, an online platform that displays state codes, court decisions, and information from legislative tracking services in a way the average citizen can understand.
Over the last five years, the Knight News Challenge has awarded a total of $27 million to seventy-six projects. This year, for the first time, the competition focused on entries in four categories — mobile, authenticity, sustainability, and community — and included $1 million in support from Google, which was not involved in the selection process.
"Quality journalism remains a crucial ingredient of democracy," said Jim Gerber, director of strategic partnerships at Google. "As the Internet continues to extend how we communicate, gather information, and publish, innovations in news are emerging from organizations of all sizes around the world. We applaud the initiatives recognized...in the Knight News Challenge and hope they inspire even greater innovation."
To view a complete list of this year's winners, visit the Knight Foundation Web site.