The Knight News Challenge Information Blog

Where Innovative Ideas Get Funded at NewsChallenge.org

Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

Google Gets Mobile, Acquires Jaiku

Posted by Jacqueline on October 9, 2007

The mobile web is definitely hot right now, and the almighty Google has just solidified their presence in the mobile space by buying Jaiku, a Finnish company that provides a mobile instant messaging service.

There’s a FAQ about the acquisition on Jaiku’s website – they say that it shouldn’t change much for users at the moment, but it will be exciting to see what Jaiku does now that they have Google’s support.  Of course, this way Google can also extend its advertising into the mobile sphere – which might not be such a bad thing, especially for mobile-centric companies in search of ad revenue.  Also, considering that reports of a “gphone” have been popping up on tech blogs, Jaiku could end up being an important component of that.

Got a mobile web project of your own?  If it’s related to local news and based around a particular community, check out the Knight News Challenge – you could win funding for your ideas. 

Bonus links: coverage of the deal on Techcrunch, O’Reilly Radar, and Read Write Web.

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

“Journalism Has A Very Bright Future…”

Posted by Jacqueline on October 9, 2007

 “…it’s just a different one than it’s had.”

Doc Searls quoted Drew Clark today, saying that newspapers as we know them are over – I’m an optimist… The newspaper will not be around in twenty years. Let’s say ‘taps’ and move on.

We’ve all read tons of articles and blog posts decrying the way the web has affected journalism and claiming the internet and related technology will cause the death of traditional media, but really, is the situation that dire?  Yes, journalism is in a state of flux, but the changes aren’t necessarily for the worse, even if print newspapers become a distant memory (all the inky newsprint isn’t exactly evironmentally friendly anyways). 

I’ve said it before, but I’ll repeat myself – the future belongs to the people who can adapt to the changes and forge ahead, not the ones who struggle to make technology fit the old molds.  That’s at least part of the reason why startups and independent news sites have gained so much popularity on the web – they don’t have that albatross of tradition hanging around their necks. 

As always, if you’ve got plans or projects that involve the ever-changing world of digital technology and journalism, check out the Knight News Challenge – you could win funding, support, and make your ideas a reality. 

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

Popping the Bubble: Join The Fray

Posted by Jacqueline on October 8, 2007

Serial entrepreneur and founder of create-your-own social network site, Ning, Marc Andreessen has something to say to everyone who feels that we’re in the middle of another internet bubble (bubble 2.0?) – basically, that we’re not.  But he’s a lot funnier.

He makes a lot of good points about why you should take the risks and get out there and create something.  There is work to be done, innovations to discover, and of course, money to be made. 

And if your ideas or projects have to do with citizen journalism, building community, and digital technology, check out the Knight News Challenge.  Because if you happen to win, and Marc’s wrong about that whole bubble thing, some nice grant money will soften the blow. 

Posted in Blogging, Digital Media, Entrepreneurship, General, Innovation, Technology, Web | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Moment Is Here: News Is Portable

Posted by Jacqueline on October 8, 2007

Jeff Jarvis says that newspapers have reached their “ipod moment” – the moment where something shifts and new technology reaches a critical mass, changing the way that everything works (like ipods changed how people consume music). 

As we all know, the mobile web is becoming increasingly important – and with iphones (and similar devices, including, perhaps, a google phone), we’re no longer chained to a computer.  Instead, we’re connected to the internet all the time and we get our news on the go – and everything you can do on your computer, you can do on your iphone.  The fact that it’s also a cell phone is practically a second thought when you consider all of its web capabilities. 

However, for this to be a real industry-altering ipod moment, media companies have to take advantage of it.  Right now, it appears that old media is much too focused on making the web adapt to their interests, rather than figuring out how to innovate.  And I quote:

“For decades, I’ve watched newspaper industry thinktanks – the too few that exist – try to invent the next medium for news. This usually takes the mythical form of e-paper, thin as a sheet and just as portable, able to display newspapers like newspapers, very Harry Potter. I have also seen too many newspapers and magazines attempting to use painful PDF technology to display their publications on screens exactly as they appear on paper. Why? Ego, I think, and comfort and fear of change. The New York Times recently did a deal with Microsoft to use its new reader, which looks as attractive, if grey, as the Times itself and enables familiar activities like turning pages, but which loses some of the rich linking and interactivity of the web.

I think that’s all driving the wrong way: backwards. These are attempts to mold technology to old media. What we should be doing instead, of course, is molding media to new technology. We should be asking what new we can do on this new iPhone.”

That last paragraph could also be an explanation for why independent bloggers and new media companies have managed to pick up such a large share of the market online – they are working with the technology and embracing the new, instead of fighting change and maintaining the status quo.  Like Jeff says, they should be asking themselves “how do we use this wonderful device to give people the news and links whenever, wherever, and however they want it? How do we do that with incredible efficiency? How do we make it local and relevant? How do we take advantage of the two-way relationship we now have, enabling people with these gadgets to share what they know?

Of course, if you have ideas or projects related to digital technology and journalism, you know what to do.  There’s one week left to enter and hey, you could be the one who rocks the media world.

Posted in Digital Media, General, Innovation, Journalism, New Media, Technology | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Social News in the Spotlight: Newsvine Bought By MSNBC

Posted by Jacqueline on October 7, 2007

Popular social news website Newsvine became part of the MSNBC family this past Friday, solidifying the place of community-driven news on the web.  As stated by the founders of purpose of Newsvine was “to build a perfectly different, perfectly efficient way to read, write, and interact with the news.”

According to MSNBC’s coverage of the deal, Newsvine was a perfect fit for their needs.

“Newsvine is local, small, nimble — they don’t come with a lot of things you don’t want,” he said, such as complicated partnerships and contracts. “There isn’t a lot to rearrange.”

Sreenath Sreenivasan, a specialist in new media at the Columbia University journalism school, said the deal was a good fit for both companies.

“As the news environment is changing so quickly, it’s important for more traditional media companies to take advantage of some of these newer technologies,” Sreenivasan said.

Although Newsvine is not as popular as other social news sites (like Digg, Reddit, and such), it has a dedicated community of users and they’ve created plenty of buzz by offering a unique combination of mainstream reporting, user-generated content, and social ranking.  Here’s the quote:

“But the site has generated significant buzz since its launch in March 2006 because of its inventive merger of mainstream reporting from The Associated Press and ESPN; the contributions of individual users, who are paid for their writing; and the social media model of user-driven ranking of the news.”

What does this all mean for citizen journalism?  Now it will have a home on one of the largest news sources on the web; however, they’re promising that the acquisition won’t destroy Newsvine’s independent spirit.

“Newsvine will now report to one of the largest such companies, but while Davidson said it may “expand a little bit” with msnbc.com’s support, growing from six employees to perhaps 10 or 15, he and Tillinghast both stressed that Newsvine would continue to run as an independent site.”

Related links – the coverage of the MSNBC-Newsvine deal on Techcrunch, Gigaom, and MSNBC itself.

Posted in Digital Media, Entrepreneurship, General, Innovation, Journalism, New Media, Technology, Web 2.0 | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »