Knight News Challenge winners aim to unlock the value of data

by IJNet
Sep 20, 2012 in Digital Journalism

A real-time map of air quality; a system to make broadcast content easier to search and share; and a toolkit for communities to collect and manage place-based data were among the winners in the latest round of the Knight News Challenge.

Six projects won a combined US$2.2 million, plus expert advice to help them accelerate and advance their work as winners of the Knight News Challenge: Data. The contest runs in three rounds per year. Nearly 900 projects entered this round, which invited entries that make large amounts of data “available, understandable and actionable."

“The winning projects go well beyond collecting data to unlocking its value in simple and powerful ways, so journalists can analyze numbers and trends, and communities can make decisions on issues important to them,” said Michael Maness, vice president for journalism and media innovation at Knight Foundation, which runs the contest.

The winning projects focus on data from local communities, the U.S. Census, elections, demographics and more. The winners give a snapshot of their projects in this video.

The winning projects are:

  • Safecast is a community of citizen and professional scientists who measure and share data on air quality in U.S. cities.

  • LocalData empowers communities to collect data with new tools, including smartphone and paper-based surveys, for instant visualization. The tools could be used, for instance, to track urban blight.

  • Open Elections is the first free, comprehensive, standardized, linked set of election data for the U.S., including federal and statewide offices. Senior developers from The Washington Post and The New York Times lead the project.

  • New Tools for OpenStreetMap will make it easier for communities to contribute to OpenStreetMap, a community-mapping project users access via Foursquare and Wikimedia.

  • Pop Up Archive makes broadcast media content searchable, reusable and shareable, without requiring technical expertise or substantial resources from producers.

  • Census.IRE.org provides journalists and the public with a simpler way to access U.S. Census data, so they can spend less time managing the information and more time analyzing it and finding trends.

You can watch challenge winners talk more about their projects via livestream from the Online News Association conference in San Francisco at 4 p.m. Eastern time on Saturday, Sept. 22.

Knight Foundation is reviewing applications for the next round of the contest, on mobile media. It is also planning the first contest round of 2013, which will focus on tools for open government.

Image: A Safecast map that includes a combination of radiation data points published by the Japanese government, several NGOs and submissions.