Knight News Challenge

The Knight News Challenge accelerates media innovation by funding breakthrough ideas in news and information. Winners receive a share of $5 million in funding and support from Knight’s network of influential peers and advisors to help advance their ideas. The first round of 2013, which opens in February, will invite innovators from all disciplines to focus on tools for open government. In 2012, three challenge rounds, each focused on an emerging trend, drew more than 2,500 entries.

Challenge 1 - on NETWORKS: Winners were announced June 18.

Challenge 2 - on DATA: Winners were announced Sept. 20.

Challenge 3 – on MOBILE: Winners were announced Jan. 17.

Anyone, anywhere can apply for the challenge - whether for-profit start-ups or non-profit ventures. For more information on a variety of topics - from guidelines for for-profits, on intellectual property licensing, open source software and more - visit our FAQ.

Knight News Challenge on mobile now open for apps

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The Knight News Challenge on mobile is now open for your applications.  

Update: News Challenge Office Hours: Get your questions answered at 1 p.m. ET on Friday, Sept. 7.

Related: A deeper look at the News Challenge application questions and How to make your News Challenge: Mobile application stand out

We’re asking eight questions. We’re asking you to make the case for your idea on using mobile to improve news, information, democracy and communities, and your ability to execute on it. We also encourage you to link to anything that helps you to make that case.

We’re giving you just three weeks to submit your ideas— the deadline to apply is noon EDT on Sept. 10. For just 10-12 sentences, you have a shot at a share of $5 million, and advice from Knight’s network of media entrepreneurs to help accelerate your idea. All applications are open and will be posted to our Tumblr site. If you don’t want yours to be public, you can send it to us by e-mail at

Two days after we announced the News Challenge on mobile, Time Magazine released its “Wireless Issue.” Time’s Richard Stengel argued that “the mobile phone has ­become a kind of super­extension of ourselves — faster, brainier, more reliable and always on.” “It is hard to think of any tool, any instrument, any object in history with which so many developed so close a relationship so quickly as we have with our phones,” wrote his colleague Nancy Gibbs. Earlier this week, the mobile analytics company Flurry announced a finding that the adoption of the smart phone “has surpassed that of any consumer technology in history…10X faster than that of the 80s PC revolution, 2X faster than that of 90s Internet Boom and 3X faster than that of recent social network adoption.”

Despite these trends, we maintain an ambiguous relationship with this tool. We like restaurants that ban them. We engage in potentially dangerous behaviour, like using them while driving or carrying them in our pockets. We’re unsure how to earn revenue from them. We’re passing laws like California’s Location Privacy Act, which seeks to make it more difficult for law enforcement to collect data from our mobile devices. Through all these questions, we’re trying to make sense of the “faster, brainier super­extension of ourselves” in our pockets.   

We don’t expect to solve these deeper issues through a single challenge, but we are counting on you to help us develop, circulate and improve ideas that will advance our understanding and use of these devices.

Apply now, and learn more through our FAQ.

By John Bracken, director journalism/media innovation at Knight Foundation

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