The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has announced the winners of its Knight News Challenge: Data, which aims to accelerate innovative projects that make it easier for communities to access and use information.
Six media ventures will receive a total of $2.2 million in funding as well as advice from the Knight Foundation's network of media innovators. The winning projects are Open Elections ($200,000), which is working to create the first freely available comprehensive source of U.S. election results, enabling journalists and researchers to analyze trends in campaign spending, demographic changes, and legislative track records; LocalData( $300,000), which provides tools to help communities collect data on paper or with a smart-phone app, then export or visualize the data through a user-friendly dashboard; Pop Up Archive ($300,000), which puts multimedia content — including audio and pictures — on the Web, where it is searchable, reusable, and shareable; Safecast Radiation & Air Quality ($400,000), which will use the funds to create a real-time map of air quality in U.S. cities; Census.IRE.org ($450,000), which will improve a tool designed to help journalists access census data more easily and add new data sets, including the annual American Community Survey; and OpenStreetMap ($575,000), which is building a suite of easy-to-use tools that enable anyone to contribute data such as building locations, street names, and points of interest.
Launched in 2007, the Knight News Challenge aims to identify the next generation of innovations that help communities get the information they need. The data challenge, one of three challenge rounds held this year, sought ideas to make the large amounts of information produced each day available, understandable, and actionable.
"The winning projects go well beyond collecting data to unlocking its value in simple and powerful ways," said Michael Maness, vice president for journalism and media innovation at the Knight Foundation, "so journalists can analyze numbers and trends, and communities can make decisions on issues important to them."