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.

The Navajo InfoWire - A news platform and civic information service for the rural communities of the Navajo Nation

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1. What is your project? [1 sentence]

For the first time ever, many rural communities of the Navajo Nation (the USA’s largest Native American reservation) will go from no/spotty cellular network coverage to full 4G broadband connectivity - and the Navajo InfoWire platform aims to leverage this emerging network to improve how the Navajo people receive and interact with important public service alerts and breaking news by merging network connected displays in high-traffic community hubs with a web-based Navajo news aggregation service.

2. How will your project use mobile tools and approaches? [2 sentences]

As cellular devices become more ubiquitous, anyone will be able to interact with featured Navajo InfoWire content on their mobile devices through the use of shortened links, text codes, and (in the future) NFC connectivity. Crowd-sourced info and aggregation will be heavily integrated with the service, so users will be able to submit content (event updates, breaking stories, reports, etc.) on their mobile devices using voice/text/email/etc. services.

3. Who will use it and why? [1 sentence]

The average Navajo citizen currently waits until every Thursday to receive their weekly newspaper; the Navajo InfoWire will aim to give them constant updates as well as provide a way for existing newspaper publishers to reach the wider Navajo public with their online content.

4. Please list three ways they would learn about your project.

1) Display installations will be targeted at high-traffic areas for guaranteed audience exposure.

2) Existing Navajo news and information publishers can encourage their customers to interact with their featured items on the Navajo InfoWire platform, using their mobile devices.

3) Exposure to the platform can also be organic by leveraging the potential for exclusive content through a crowd-sourced approach to news creation.

5. What connections have you made, or will you make, with others [communities, organizations or networks] about your project? [2 sentences]

Business owners in ‘high-traffic’ rural hubs will need to collaborate with Navajo InfoWire for display installations (including the cellular data provider). Informal connections exist with some established Navajo news service Publishers, but need to be developed in order to extend the scope of content featured on the Navajo InfoWire.

6. What part of the project have you already built? [1-2 sentences, feel free to include links]

A simple net-connected LED ticker display has been used in a separate project to connect to an RSS feed to download and display a “word of the day” feature. That project was the first iteration of this idea and is now more ambitious in order to take advantage of newer technology (such as the development of 4G broadband on the Navajo Nation, click here for more information).

7. What does success for your project look like? [1-2 sentences]

Success for the Navajo InfoWire is to achieve at least 50% crowd-sourced content; the aim is to change the way relevant or important information is shared across the Navajo Nation by giving the Navajo citizen the opportunity to report even when there’s no traditional reporter to be found. With a land base that’s greater than the State of West Virginia, success will also be in simply connecting the People together in like never before through the Navajo InfoWire platform.

8. What resources do you need to succeed? [1-2 sentences]

Success will require a larger technical team that can build out a secure, reliable backend service, and the funds to support it. Being able to draw from the insights of experienced print/digital publishers and distributors may also allow this project to avoid harmful mistakes.

Additional details:
Please list who is on your team: Byron Shorty; subject to additions.
Expected number of months to complete project: 18 months (targeting at least half of the 110 political regions in the Navajo Nation)
Estimated Project Cost: $275,000
Name: Byron Shorty
Email address:
Organization [if applicable]:
City: Leupp (Winslow), AZ
Country: USA
How did you learn about the contest? Email