Knight News Challenge on open gov launches Feb. 12

The Knight News Challenge on open government will run from Feb. 12 to March 18. It’s an opportunity to win part of the $5 million the Knight Foundation will use this year to support innovative projects.

Knight-Foundation-logoIn a post on the Knight blog on Wednesday, John Bracken (Director of Journalism and Media Innovation at Knight) says they “expect the News Challenge to generate proposals to improve the way citizens and governments interact. Projects could help parents evaluate schools, make weather data more usable, identify best routes from one town to another, or identify pork in the federal budget.” They’ll be defining “open government” broadly for this challenge.

From the blog post:

One of our goals for the News Challenge is to involve more people in the use of technology to solve community problems. “Dozens of developers looking at each other in conference rooms over pizza is never going to lead to making lives better…without the active involvement of real residents expressing real needs and advocating for software that makes sense to them,” wrote Daniel O’Neil of the Smart Chicago Collaborative recently. We hope to help extend the spirit of open gov beyond those conference rooms, and to catalyze partnerships between hackers, civic innovators, governments, journalists and others. As a social investor, we feel the time is right to help advance the field.

Bracken wrote that Knight is looking for more than just applicants for this challenge; they’re looking for participants. The challenge will open on Feb. 12 with an “inspiration” phase where anyone — journalists, state and local officials, citizens, community foundations, schools, others — can share problems they’d like to see solved and success stories they’d like to see accelerated. Some participants may continue on as applicants by submitting project entries starting Feb. 19 (through March 18). Winners will be announced in June.

See the full blog post at for more details, including links to a number of great Knight investments in this area (Code for America, Textizen, etc.). More details will be posted when the Knight News Challenge on open gov launches officially on Feb. 12, and Knight will hold open office hours at 1:00 p.m. ET on Thursday, Feb. 7.

In the meantime, share your comments here about how you think our community should respond to this unique opportunity. These are not small grants. Eight winners shared 2.4 million in the Knight News Challenge: Mobile. Six data ventures won a total of $2.2 million in the Knight Foundation News Challenge: Data.

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Daniel Bevarly

Sandy – Thanks for posting on this. This is a great opportunity for the Gov 2.0, open gov/data, etc. communities. Besides applying for funding, the “inspiration” phase starting next week is a great crowd sourcing opportunity for the GovLoop community to share experiences –good and bad, ideas and suggestions. Who knows, some virtual teams could form that could lead to new and innovative solutions.