The Knight News Challenge Information Blog

Where Innovative Ideas Get Funded at NewsChallenge.org

Posts Tagged ‘Entrepreneurship’

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.

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Posted in Entrepreneurship, General, Innovation, 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 »

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 »

Tis The Week To Change The World

Posted by Jacqueline on October 7, 2007

What are your plans for this week?

Anything interesting?

Just a typical week, you say?

Perhaps it’s time to disrupt your routine and take a look at the Knight News Challenge.  For the unfamiliar, it’s a contest that awards funding to innovators with ideas that involve digital technology and information delivery, and are focused on fostering community in a specific geographic region.  Anyone can enter (all you need is a great idea) and the deadline is October 15th.

There’s up to $5 million reserved for this year’s challenge, so a winning entry could be truly life-changing.  Consider yourself an entrepreneur?  Take the chance and enter. 

Need some inspiration? 

Check out this clip of last year’s winners:

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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 »

10 Days To Change the World

Posted by Jacqueline on October 5, 2007

Just a quick notice to all those planning to enter the Knight News Challenge – the deadline is on October 15th, which is only ten days away.  However, that is definitely still enough time to create a short proposal for the contest, so click here and get started.

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Become the Master of Your Own Universe: Get Creative

Posted by Jacqueline on October 5, 2007

Want to control your own destiny?  You can create something, build something, or start your own business.  Whatever you do, take a chance and get entrepreneurial.  It’s easier than ever to start a company, publish your writing or artwork, and record your own music, thanks to the web.  Need more inspiration?  Check out this post by Read Write Web’s brilliant Bernard Lunn about how Creative Entrepreneurs are the Next Masters of the Universe.

Basically, it’s time to stop complaining about the status quo and get out there and disrupt it (and if you’re lacking in funds and your idea has to do with news, local and hyperlocal communities, and/or journalism, check out the Knight News Challenge).  Yes, it’s tough to get heard over all the other “noise” on the web, and marketing even the best idea is difficult in this age of over-saturation, but in the end, isn’t being becoming a master of the universe worth it?

Get out there and change the world.

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

The Web 2.0 Petri Dish on Read Write Web

Posted by Jacqueline on October 4, 2007

Today Read Write Web, one of the net’s foremost technology and digital media blogs (and I’ll admit that it’s a personal favorite of mine as well), posted about the current web 2.0 climate, comparing it to a petri dish – lots of experiments are taking place and no one really knows what’s going to happen.  Contributor Bernard Lunn says:

“The Web 2.0 world is looking increasingly like a giant petri dish. There are so many experiments, so much innovation and, as yet, relatively little real revenue. Within this petri dish are a few ideas that will turn into billions of dollars, at which point we will all say “why didn’t I think of that”? There are also lots of “what on earth were we all thinking” ideas out there. Numerically of course, there will be much more of the latter – but in $ terms the few big winners will mean it’ll all make some kind of sense in the end.”

Now, the Knight News Challenge is not about on awarding funds to companies based their earning potential (after all, they want more corporations that think about the double bottom line), but revenues are the lifeblood of any company, and it’s important for any entrepreneur who is thinking about building something web 2.0ish to realize that very few companies are actually making any real cash on the web.  However, the entry bar and general costs of doing business are still set extremely low, so there is not going to be a lack of people who are going to try to make the big bucks.

Lunn’s petri dish metaphor is extremely apt – lots of people experimenting with this and that, hoping to grow into something big and valuable.  He goes on to cover the current state of web 2.0 in a very realistic manner that is best described as cautious optimism, and ends with some advice to startup founders and other entreprenuers:

“1. Raise more money (a lot more) than you think you need. VCs have plenty of money to put to work and you need enough to ride out a cycle and really build something to last. Jason Calacanis said he raised enough for 5 years with Mahalo and he has seen a cycle come and go.

2. Get to cash flow positive quicker than you had planned. (And if you are already there, don’t take this as the time to start a major expansion built on borrowed money).

3. Accept that offer. Not the first one of course. Not the second one if you have good poker nerves. But take the third one. Live to venture another day.”

Perhaps his advice is little obvious, but really, the current financial climate is not the time to engage in major building on borrowed money.  What’s the solution?  Stay small and lean (with all the current technology, there is no need to have a huge office or other costly accoutrements, especially in a company’s early days of existence), or you could look for funding from non-venture capital sources, such as grants or contests like the news challenge (c’mon, you knew I was going to mention that).

Posted in Digital Media, Entrepreneurship, General, Innovation, Technology, Web 2.0 | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Make A Real Impact: Build A Necessary Evil

Posted by Jacqueline on October 3, 2007

Last week at On Startups Darmesh Shah posted about how entreprenuers can do better creating something that is a necessary evil (he uses the very apt example of tax software – it’s not fun or buy or use, but we all have to pay taxes), instead of something that is fun, cool, or sexy.  A real market of a few is better than a mythical market of millions, he says, and I’m inclined to agree.   

This makes perfect sense – build something that people need and they will come.  But how does this apply to the Knight News Challenge?  Well, most individuals consume a certain amount of local news just because they happen to live in a particular area.  People want to know what is going around them, because generally those are the events that affect them the most. 

Focus on delivering the necessary information – weather, crime, traffic, and less obvious things, such as quick un-biased summaries on the positions of local politicians during election season, for instance (although the lack of bias may be something that is easier said than done).  After all, we all know the views of candidates in the major national races, because the media covers that incessantly.  But local elections can have just as much, if not more, impact as the presidential race for the people who live in that community.  Think grassroots, not global. 

Yes, something like this might be not particularly cool, but it’ll make a difference – and it might even encourage more people to vote, because they’ll be significantly better informed.  Have a better idea for a “necessary evil” type of startup?  You know the drill.

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