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.
It is called Brooklyn Mojos, the Mojos referring to the Mobile Journalists who will gather local news (under my direction) and transmit it to a Web site and news app developed by our team.
Our 20 Mojos will capture scenes and stories that normally escape the attention (and capability) of local TV, radio, newspaper, Web and cable news outlets. The project – which will have a strong focus on the thousands who are being displaced by ongoing and increasing gentrification – will be multimedia, using audio and video as well as brief articles, written with our thumbs, and using keyboard attachments and voice recognition software.
The users will be budding journalists who sign up for the Mojo class at Brooklyn College (part of the public City University of New York) and they will do it because they want to understand where journalism is going and how to get there.
One, they would hear about it on citywide cable and radio stations, as well as Websites, who would get the buzz from social networks and press releases sent out by yours truly, a former writer/producer with more than half a dozen news organizations, including Newsday, the New York Daily News, The Associated Press and ABCnews.com. Two, they would read about it in local and citywide newspapers, whose editors I would speak with. Three, they would see it in the Brooklyn College course booklet, and on the college Web site, as a credit-bearing journalism course.
I am very close, for one, to Ralph Engelman, chair of the journalism program at the Brooklyn campus of Long Island University, home of the prestigious George Polk Awards (on whose committee I served for several years), and we would have at least four LIU students in each of our two semester-long classes. We would also establish links with groups such as the Brooklyn-based Women’s Press Collective (WPC), which seeks to build “independent grassroots media,” and we would hold learning sessions with local techies and budding entrepreneurs.
Over the past three years I’ve been using my smartphone to record videos, take photos and write brief articles that I send to YouTube, Reddit, and my own Web sites, including (but not limited to) http://brooklynron.com, http://theelectionof2012.wordpress.com, http://www.youtube.com/user/BrooklynRonnie and http://twitter.com/newbrooklyn. Also I teach techniques of multimedia journalism at Brooklyn College (as a fulltime associate professor in the English Department).
Success would mean being able to find ways to continue the project, and having media innovators look to us as examples of what modern journalism should be. It would mean earning recognition from progressives such as those at Stony Brook University’s School of Journalism (where in January I taught a “Journalism Without Walls” course on foreign reporting, involving a trip to Cuba): http://www.journalismwithoutwalls.com/cuba2012/).
We would need 21 smartphones with Verizon connections; a college-based computer science app developer; a faculty member (yours truly); a student assistant; minimal accessories such as use of printer, paper, etc.; and a director (yours truly, a 63-year-old fourth generation Brooklynite) who believes the mainstream media routinely ignore vast swaths of our borough.
We would be using facilities on the campus of Brooklyn College, but even more so the streets of far-flung Brooklyn.
Please list who is on your team: Brooklyn College Journalism Program Director Anthony Mancini and LIU Journalism Chair Ralph Engelman.
Expected number of months to complete project: 10 months, which include two months of preparation and eight months – or two semesters – of credit-bearing reporting and publishing.
Estimated Project Cost: $72,540.
Name: Ron Howell
Email address: Rhowell@brooklyn.cuny.edu
Organization [if applicable]: Brooklyn College
City: Brooklyn, N.Y.
How did you learn about the contest? I learned about it through an email from the KnightFoundation.