On Tuesday the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced a new contest to develop online and mobile applications that will help people improve their lives through better access to government/community info and services.
The Apps for Inclusion Challenge “encourages technology innovators to review government and community services and develop tools that will improve lives by making it easier for citizens to receive these services through mobile and online applications.”
This announcement came during an event co-hosted by the Knight Foundation in which the FCC previewed its forthcoming National Broadband Plan. The FCC will be “in partnership” with the Knight Foundation on Apps for Inclusion.
Contest entry criteria and deadlines have not yet been announced. However, the Knight Foundation will commit a total of $100,000 in prize money. A panel of experts will review applications and pick winners. The public will have a vote through several “people’s choice awards.”
Here’s an intriguing notion—ask the crowd you’d like to have pay for your product for ideas on how to get more of them to pay for it. That’s the approach legendary pink business broadsheet Financial Times has taken by using a “social think tank” called Idea Bounty to help find digital marketing ideas to boost new subscriptions to FT.com.
The crowdsourcing contest has an actual bounty—it carries a top prize of $5,000 and offers 10 short-listers full-year subscriptions to the paper. It’s a pretty simple process: register, submit an idea, then wait to hear back. In this case, you’d know after the July 25 deadline if yours was the plan to win the paper gobs of new online readers.
Idea Bounty, part of Cape Town, South Africa-based Quirk eMarketing, has run such crowd-sourcing contests since late 2008 for Levi’s, Red Bull, BMW, Unilever and others, but this appears to be its first news project. Winning ideas end up belonging to the client, so it’s not so apparent what they are or how well they worked. But the site is reported by technology site Memeburn to have generated 6,000 ideas for 11 projects so far.
Financial Times, meanwhile, already has 140,000 digital subscribers using the site via metered paywall, and according to a long writeup in the Los Angeles Times, has been seeing subscription revenues grow, with 15% more subscribers than a year ago.
A journalism prize for investigative reporting with a social and economic justice bent is now accepting submissions for its 2011 awards. The annual Hillman Prize, sponsored by the Sidney Hillman Foundation, has categories for online, newspaper and magazine publishing, as well as broadcast TV/radio, photojournalism, film and non-fiction books. The winner receives $5,000, plus travel to New York for an awards ceremony next May 19.
The contest judges are a high-powered lot, including a Washington Post/Los Angeles Times editor-at-large, a senior editor from the New Yorker, the editor and publisher of The Nation, a senior producer for CNN and others.
Deadline for submissions is Jan. 31, 2011. No fee is required. Submit or nominate work here.
In its Planet Inspired YouTube contest, National Geographic shows how a media organization can build engagement and issue awareness, while also extending the relevance of its established brand to a new generation of digital collaborators. The secret? Encouraging the public play with its multimedia archives…
Through Nov. 15, YouTube users can submit short montage videos compiled from clips and images from a library of National Geographic content, combined with their own pictures or video. Submissions must focus on one of four themes: oceans, endangered species, freshwater, or exploration. Videos can include text captions written by the user, and audio from a library provided by National Geographic.
The goal here is not to help people create journalism, but to help them feel a sense of engagement and identification with National Geographic. The language around this contest is highly emotional and personal: “Choose the issue you feel most passionate about; the story of our planet you want to tell. Then select images, clips, music, plus your own original content to create a message that moves hearts and minds.”
That’s an important point: It’s pretty hard to build a brand, or engage an audience or community, without passion. While your journalism may not be an appropriate place to express or incite passion, it can be interesting to let your community reflect their passion back at you by layering their creativity onto your content.
This particular contest focuses on gorgeous imagery and global issues. However a news organization that happens to have rich photo or video archives might consider trying something similar for issues of special significance to their region: a sports team, a major storm, local business or schools, an annual festival or parade, local history, the local landscape, etc.
National Geographic made this contest very easy for people with little or no video experience by building a user-friendly web-based tool that allows people to select, upload, organize, and caption clips and produce a finished video. That kind of tool requires some web development work, but if you build it right it can be reused for multiple contests. This approach also doesn’t make it too easy for people to use your content in unauthorized ways.
The deadline for submissions is Nov. 15. A panel of National Geographic judges then will choose 10 finalists. YouTube votes will determine the grand prize winner, which will be announced Dec. 17. The grand prize is a National Geographic weekend photography workshop (an existing revenue-generating event series) plus a $1,000 gift certificate from The North Face.
The several month-long competition, sponsored by Google, Adobe, Sprint, and Hearst Corp., is in its fourth year, having previously developed apps for the iPhone and for Adobe. One winning idea from last year’s contest is now in development as a potential business at Hearst.
The contest form itself is nicely innovative. Students form ad-hoc, cross-disciplinary teams, with project management from Hearst employees. Adobe provides tools for generating Android apps, while Sprint provides help from developers and phones for testing apps. The winner ultimately gets to present its idea to Google execs in California next spring.
The Neiman Journalism Lab blog has a detailed writeup on the contest and its interdisciplinary approach.
The first phase of the Knight-Mozilla Technology Challenge launched this week. Through May 6, the program is accepting online submissions of ideas to create tools to help news organizations find new ways to use video in storytelling beyond embedding a “TV in a web page”...
According to the Unlocking Video challenge page: “New open video tools make it possible to pull data from across the web right into the story. Information related to the video can literally ‘pop’ into the page. And videos themselves can change, dynamically adapting as stories evolve. The challenge is to use these tools in ways that serve the story. How can we enrich news video through things like added context, deeper viewer engagement, and the real time web? What are the untapped possibilities inherent in many-to-many, web video?”
Regarding how news organizations could put these ideas to use:
“How might you tell a story by pulling in video, data and other material from across the web?”
“How can semantic video help audiences dig deeper into other forms of context and content?”
“How do we create compelling narrative experiences—and avoid overwhelming viewers with too much information?”
This challenge is one of three to be held this spring—the others are reinventing comments, and future news apps. This series is designed to identify 15 fellows “who will be embedded in leading newsrooms around the world. These fellows will create new tools, ideas, and news experiences that benefit both readers and newsmakers—all using open technologies.”
Fellows must commit to spending a year on site with one of the program’s news partners (currently: Boston.com, The Guardian, Al Jazeera, BBC News, and Zeit Online). At a meeting last night in San Francisco, Nathaniel James (news technology program manager for Mozilla’s Drumbeat initiative) said that the salary would be in the range of $65,000, and that relocation funding and support would be available.
Deadline for video challenge entries: May 6. Ideas then will be voted on by the public and a panel of experts.
James said that in 2012 ten additional news partners will be announced. While the first few partners are mostly large established media organizations, the program will seek more diversity in the size, type, and focus of additional news partners. According to James, the selection process for news partners begins in September. Learn more and stay tuned for more info.
Local arts journalism is evolving quickly, just like every other kind of news and information. To spur and guide this evolution, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts recently teamed up to launch an eight-city competition seeking new models for local arts journalism in the digital age…
First round winners will receive up to $20,000 to create an action plan to develop their idea. These projects are eligible to win up to $80,000 for implementation in the contest’s second round.
Individuals, non-profits and businesses are eligible to apply. Partnerships between legacy and emerging media organizations are encouraged. There is no limit to the number of applications that you can submit.
“No idea is too unusual,” said Dennis Scholl, Knight’s vice president for arts.
For five years the original Knight News Challenge stimulated innovation in news, information, and community engagement. Today the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation unveiled the revamped program…
The new Knight News Challenge will comprise three smaller, more focused competitions. Each Challenge will last 8-10 weeks, beginning to end.
The first Challenge opens for applications Feb. 27, deadline March 17. First-round winners will be announced in June 18 at MIT.
The second contest (an open competition, casting a wide net for new ideas) will launch later this spring.
The dates and topic of the third contest have not yet been determined.
This year’s first News Challenge will focus on the concept of networks. John Bracken, director of journalism and media innovation for the Knight Foundation, explained what Knight means by networks:
“In the course of our work, we often come across proposals to ‘build a Facebook that connects X and Y.’ We want to move away from that. There are a lot of vibrant networks and platforms, on- and off-line, that can be used to connect us with the news and information we need to make decisions about our lives. This challenge will not fund new networks. Rather, we’re asking you to describe ways you might use existing platforms to drive innovation in media and journalism.”
Today the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation began accepting applications for the first part of the revamped Knight News Challenge. To apply, explain your idea on the theme of “networks” by answering seven questions on a special Tumblr site…
This year the News Challenge will comprise three smaller, more focused competitions. Each Challenge will last 8-10 weeks, beginning to end. The application deadline for the first Challenge is March 17. First-round winners will be announced June 18 at MIT.
By “networks,” Knight means “ideas that build on the rise of existing network events and tools that deliver news and information and extend our understanding.”
In this video, Michael Maness (Knight VP of Journalism and Media Innovation) elaborated on the “networks” theme. For example: “Storify didn’t invent Twitter,” he said, “they just found a new way of using it.”