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.

Augmented Reality & Geolocation toolkit

reblog reblog

1. What is your project? [1 sentence]

A set of mobile phone based tools designed for small independent news organisations and bloggers to allow easy discovery of community content in a geospatial context utilising Augmented Reality (AR) and geolocation, based on a generic prototype that already runs

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

We will use mobile phones and tablets to display local information from blogs and other services on the device using augmented reality apps by developing the prototype into a news-specific AR-loader. We shall develop a simple tool for bloggers and news organisation anywhere in the world to publish their content into AR building on our highly successful prototype (featured on the BBC and in The Guardian) and our huge experience of newspaper and hyperlocal blog publishing.

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

Entrepreneurial journalists, bloggers and media companies looking for a no / low cost, easy access way to engage with audiences via the new location-rooted augmented reality environments.

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

1 - Our superb existing network across blogs, social media  and offline - Talk About Local has an excellent communication network among UK local bloggers, news organisations and academics - we are THE convenor of hyperlocal bloggers in the UK as evidenced in our unconferences ( and have also featured in the BBC College of Journalism.
2 - Mainstream media - our work on augmented reality has already featured on the BBC (TV, web and radio) and in The Guardian. Talk About Local’s work has featured in most UK broadsheet newspapers (including The Times)

3 - International partners - although mainly UK focussed, we do have some contacts in Europe, Africa and the Middle East through work on different projects and events with partners including Made Turkey, Indigo Trust, the Guardian Foundation and Sourcefabric. This is an area where the wider Knight Challenge network could help us reach out to new areas.

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

We have partnerships with ten local blogs and geo-publishing networks which we formed for our generic prototype work funded by leading UK innovation grant makers NESTA and The Nominet Trust. Additional connections have been established through our work as part of a major research consortium in the UK looking at the future of hyperlocal media (the hypARlocal project is not funded by that).

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

We have built a generic prototype georss loader that takes validated georss feeds and presents them to 3rd party augmented reality platforms (currently Layar), making AR publishing as simple as copying and pasting a georss feed into a form and walking away.  We have also built an easy to use wordpress plugin that gives clean valid georss feeds.

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

A simple easy-to-use innovation platform for 20 news entrepreneurs to allow them to experiment with AR for news and public service content at almost zero leading to new mainstream ways of delivering and consuming news.
The editor of The Sun newspaper in the UK recently described an AR experiment done by News International as a ‘long and painful process’ - we want to take the pain out of AR for journalists so that they can reap the benefits of this disruptive new technology.

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

We have the intellectual property and skills we require from our work on a prototype with a very good developer.  We need developer, marketing and outreach time funding then to take the project beyond the UK we need help from Knight’s excellent networks, supporters and other grantees.

Additional details:
Please list who is on your team:

Talk About Local is the leading UK expert in hyperlocal publishing and convenes a large network of independent publishers passionate about exploring new forms of journalism.
The team behind this proposal were responsible for delivering on the successful prototype work - hypARlocal - supported by Nesta and Nominet in the UK and have a combined 50 plus years experience of this local, community publishing space.

The team:

William Perrin ( founder and director of Talk About Local, has experience of policy making at the highest level in Britain, Europe and the OECD.  He was Tony Blair’s technology policy advisor from 2000-2004, chaired the OECD expert group on e-government from 2006-2008 and drove the research and policy that created OFCOM in 2000 and commissioned and delivered the Power of Information work strand in the Cabinet Office from 2006 to 2009.  

Sarah Hartley (  is an active journalist and blogger with an extensive background in community publishing having previously launched the innovative Guardian Local pilot and the Guardian Media Group’s online/mobile noticeboard platform She is a regular speaker and writer on the subjects of hyperlocal publishing, the future of journalism and  community engagement.

Mike Rawlins ( is Talk About Local’s resident technology geek an active blogger and conference speaker.  Mike ran what was arguably the UK’s largest independent political commentary blog, Pits n Pots. which reported on political news in Stoke-on-Trent and the West Midlands. Mike is working on Geolocation & Augmented Reality projects which will help deliver public service information & news based on location.

Expected number of months to complete project:Ten months
Estimated Project Cost: $110
Name: William Perrin
Twitter: @talkaboutlocal
Email address:
Organization [if applicable]: Talk About Local
City: Birmingham
Country: UK
How did you learn about the contest? via Twitter link

People Who Liked This Post

  1. Sarah Hartley submitted this to newschallenge