The Knight News Challenge Information Blog

Where Innovative Ideas Get Funded at NewsChallenge.org

Blog Action Day: Enter The Knight News Challenge and Make a Difference

Posted by Jacqueline on October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day has gotten tons of buzz in the blogosphere, and for very good reason – it’s a great way to get people thinking about a very big issue – the environment.  It’s something that affects every person on the planet, so getting tons of bloggers to write about it results in a global reach.
 Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

Now, the Knight News Challenge is not necessarily about the environment (although depending on the ideas you have, it can be), and it is focused on projects that benefit specific communities as opposed to the entire world, but in this increasingly interconnected world, the two can be connected through the net.

Have the many different posts for Blog Action Day (go here to read them all) inspired you to make your city greener?  Does your idea use digital technology to deliver information to members of your community?  Turn your thoughts into a proposal at www.newschallenge.org, and you could be one step to winning funding, realizing your dreams, and making your home a greener place.

Posted in Citizen Journalism, Entrepreneurship, General, Innovation, Technology | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Make Today Count: Enter the Knight News Challenge

Posted by Jacqueline on October 14, 2007

How do you plan to spend this Sunday afternoon?

For those of you with entrepreneurial tendencies, chances are you’re at least thinking of plans, ideas, and projects that you can execute.  If your ideas have anything to do with digital technology (and what doesn’t these days?), citizen journalism, and involve building community within a specific geographic region, check out the Knight News Challenge.

The Knight Foundation’s news challenge awards funding to people with innovative ideas that relate to the above subjects – you can win up to $500,000 and anyone, of any age and from anywhere in the world, can enter.

What are you waiting for?

Go here to find out more and submit your proposal.

Posted in Entrepreneurship, General, Innovation, Technology | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Comments on the NY Times Front Page?

Posted by Jacqueline on October 13, 2007

Several very observant bloggers (or maybe their tipsters) have noticed that the New York Times had temporarily placed reader comments on the main page with a few of their articles (at the time of posting, the general opinion seems to be that it is a test, as the comments are not currently up).   It’s very “web 2.0” of them to allow user generated content to accompany the work of their journalists; however, the general opinion of the blogosphere seems to be divided about the decision.

Many are lauding the Times for being progressive and opening the conversation between readers and journalists (and it is true that sometimes citizen journalism is the best coverage, because it comes from people who are actually on the scene or witnessed the event), but this move has also garnered some criticism.

Josh Catone of Read Write Web took a moderate view – praising the Times for allowing the comments, but questioning the judgment of placing them in such a prominent position.

“However, giving reader comments such a prominent position is dangerous. Readers of news sites (and blogs) go to those specific destinations to read news in the voice they expect — not to see a public argument from commenters.

I would applaud an expansion of New York Times comments beyond blogs to general news stories — I think commenting is great; it gives readers an outlet for instant response and keeps writers honest. But publishing comments on the main page, especially so prominently under the main story, seems like a bad idea. What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below (we won’t publish them on the main page, though!).”

I tend to agree with him – partly because if I’m reading a news article on the Times (or any other newspaper, for that matter), I’m looking for the who, the what, the where, the when, the why, and the how – just the facts, please.  Obviously, op-eds and such are different in regard to factual reporting, but perhaps the Times commenters shouldn’t be given such a major platform (although I’d assume that the comments that do appear are filtered). 

Several commenters on the various blog posts about this move by the Times have mentioned that reader comments shouldn’t have a more visible place than retractions and corrections, which definitely makes sense.  After all, others’ reactions are not as important as the actual facts of the piece, generally, and most newspapers tend to bury corrections, even online, where it seems that it would be fairly easy to add them on to the original article.  On the Silicon Alley Insider, commenter Brian says:

“When they start giving corrections the same placement and prominence as the story that contained the error, then they will be transparent and conversational. They are still burying corrections at the bottom of the story, in the archive, a day or two after it was originally published. They have a long way to go before they have fully embraced the ethos of the blogosphere.”

Perhaps the people who make such decisions at the Times and other papers are reading all these blog posts, and hopefully learning something from them – and at least they are trying to embrace the new media – even if you believe they are making a mistake with the reader comments, mistakes do happen on the way to innovation.

As always, if you have ideas related to digital media, community journalism, and how the web can improve media and the news delivery system, check out the Knight News Challenge.  You’ve only got a few days left to win funding for your ideas!

Posted in Citizen Journalism, General, Journalism, New Media, Web 2.0 | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Create With Confidence: Keep It Simple

Posted by Jacqueline on October 12, 2007

Ryan Imel of Theme Playground guest-posted on Copyblogger about confidence today.  Although technically his advice was for other bloggers, it applies to pretty much everyone who has something to say or information to present (hhmm, Knight News Challenge participants, perhaps?).

The best line?

“However, if you want a crowd to read your writing, be sure you’re writing something worth reading. And, as much as you can, cut out the fat. Don’t distract your reader so much that they miss the point of your message.”

This applies to many things besides writing – when you’re creating something new, it can be best to do one thing really, really well.  Keep it simple and make it great.  And be confident in your abilities to make something amazing.

Posted in Blogging, General, Innovation, Journalism, Technology | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Open Source Innovating

Posted by Jacqueline on October 12, 2007

One of the many things that makes the Knight News Challenge unique is that you can make your entry open to the public, so they can read, comment, and help improve your plan.  Even people who don’t plan to enter the contest can participate this way, so if you have something to say about community journalism, online news, or just want to have a hand in what could be a revolutionary innovation, go here to sign up and begin.

Although in my previous post, I said it is not the critic who counts; however, a some constructive criticism can go a long way towards helping an entrepreneur get started.  Besides, it’s an easy way to do your part and help citizen and community journalism grow into something that truly changes the world. 

Posted in Citizen Journalism, Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Web 2.0 | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Do Something Major This Weekend: Enter the Knight News Challenge

Posted by Jacqueline on October 12, 2007

So what are your weekend plans?

How does winning funding for one of those brilliant ideas you’ve been kicking around sound?  After all, it doesn’t take that much time to put together a proposal for the Knight News Challenge.

Techcrunch has an inspiring post up today about Yossi Vardi, a very influential and experienced tech entrepreneur (he was one of the original investors, in ICQ, for instance), including this quote from Theodore Roosevelt:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Why not jump into the arena by entering the contest?  Get started at www.newschallenge.org.

Posted in Entrepreneurship, General, Innovation | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Custom-Blended News

Posted by Jacqueline on October 11, 2007

It’s no surprise that people want to customize their news – after all, things like Netvibes and RSS exist for essentially that purpose.  Steve Boriss of The Future of News has an interesting post up discussing how the web might finally make it possible for us to get exactly the information/news we want, nothing more and nothing less.

“By giving everyone both a communications and delivery platform, might the Internet break-up mass media into fragmented media, finally giving us only the news that we, as individuals, want — news that reflects our worldviews, our interests, our parochial concerns, our preferences, and our tastes?”

Read more…. 

Have an idea or working on a project related to the future customization of news?  Check out the Knight News Challenge and you could win funding (up to $500,000) for your innovative ideas.  It’s worth a shot – it only takes a few minutes to write up a proposal and anyone – of any age, from anywhere in the world – can win.

Posted in Citizen Journalism, General, Journalism, New Media, Web 2.0 | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Seth Godin’s Rules For A Great Website

Posted by Jacqueline on October 11, 2007

Everything has a website nowadays – it’s almost impossible to start a company or do a project without some kind of web presence.  Obviously, an impressive, interesting, and compelling site is a virtual must for success.  For those of you planning to enter the Knight News Challenge (or have already entered and want to make your project even better), check out marketing guru Seth Godin’s rules for an amazing site.

#2 is particularly important (difficult to accomplish, but nothing worthwhile comes easy):

“Change the interaction. What makes great websites great is that they are simultaneously effortless and new at the same time. That means that the site teaches you a new thing or new interaction or new connection, but you know how to use it right away. (Hey, if doing this were easy, everyone would do it.)”

Posted in Blogging, Digital Media, Entrepreneurship, General, Technology, Web | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Ethics And Citizen Journalism

Posted by Jacqueline on October 10, 2007

According to many, one of the negative aspects of citizen journalism is that it is not as regulated as its traditional counterpart – after all, citizen journalists (e.g. bloggers and messageboard or discussion forum posters) generally aren’t considered as reliable as more professional journalists. 

While that’s not necessarily a bad thing – all journalists should carefully vet their sources anyways, it’s given citizen journalism a somewhat undeserved bad name, because really, just because someone is a professional doesn’t automatically mean they are perfectly ethical (in an ideal world, yes, however, that is sadly not the case, although they certainly are more credible than an anonymous internet source). 

However, as citizen journalism keeps gaining ground on the web, the question of ethics comes up, as well as one of regulation.  Is there even any way to set a basic standard for online, independent journalists?  First of all, if you have any ideas in that department, you should check out and enter the Knight News Challenge, especially if your plans are of a smaller scale (realistically, it’s not like anyone can regulate the entire internet).  Secondly, Tim McGuire of McGuire on Media has posted an interesting piece about ethics, the current state of journalism, and the business of journalism, and how it all goes together.  Perhaps it will inspire your entry!

Posted in Citizen Journalism, General, Journalism, New Media, Web | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Let Your Fellow Citizens Make Your Commute Easier

Posted by Jacqueline on October 10, 2007

While most people think of citizen journalism, at least at the current moment, they think of either the courageous bloggers in Burma (and other war-torn nations), or of those people who report on the minutiae of politics, especially local politics.  However, while calling it journalism might be a stretch, there are other kinds of citizen-generated content that are making an immediate impact on people’s lives.

Check out Clever Commute, a website devoted to the travel situation and traffic in the New York City area.  People use their blackberries and smart phones to share information about delays and reroutes, leading to a smoother commute for everyone involved.  No, it’s not really journalism, at least in the traditional sense, but it is breaking news.  And definitely essential knowledge for its users. 

Although public transportation systems have been offering mobile updates for some time, this is the only service that lets people reach their fellow riders (which makes things much more immediate and accurate than the typically slow transit authority updates).  Thus far, commuters using technology to help other commuters has proved to be a superior method of breaking traffic/transportation news, at least in NYC. 

Want to know more?  Check out this NY Times article on Clever Commute.

Do you have an outside-the-box citizen journalism idea?  Take a gamble and enter the Knight News Challenge – you just might win the cash and the resources to make it happen. 

Posted in Citizen Journalism, Digital Media, General, Innovation, Technology, Web 2.0 | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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