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.


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1. What is your project? [1 sentence]

Develop and deploy real-time, place-based video reporting for public safety institutions, journalism organizations (educational and professional) and the public to gather and report information during severe weather events.

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

We will provide map-based, visual information from the severe weather stakeholders as well as providing citizens an easy means to report and share information themselves

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

StormCrowd merges the interests of public safety institutions, journalism organizations, the severe weather community, and the public to provide tools and methods needed during crisis events.

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

Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr

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

We are working with the NOAA National Weather Service office in Norman, OK, Weather Decisions Technology Inc. and the University of Kansas developing the second version of the project.

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

In spring 2012, we successfully deployed StormCrowd, Branded OUStormCrowd, we covered an April 13 tornado in which we beat traditional media to air by 30 minutes and matched social media.

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

Success will be measurable by the weather service being able to obtain real-time confirmation of the need for their alerts and citizens being able to better share news about the events around them.

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

We need to be develop a new website that will host the information and new mobile and tablet apps that will permit users to easily post videos, pictures and information on the Web.

Additional details:
Please list who is on your team: Julie Jones and John Schmeltzer
Expected number of months to complete project: 12 months
Estimated Project Cost: $175,000
Name: John Schmeltzer
Twitter: @jschmeltz
Email address:
Organization [if applicable]: University of Oklahoma, Gaylord College of Journalism
City: Norman, OK
Country: USA
How did you learn about the contest? Email from Knight Foundation