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.

Carbon Creditor

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1. What is your project? [1 sentence]

Carbon Creditor, an OpenIR project, will bring the notion of carbon credit markets to the locations and actions of individual people by monitoring a person’s daily actions, cross-referencing this data with local environmental data (particularly forestation data) and carbon credit markets, and making recommendations for creating or buying carbon credits.

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

Compared to their environments, people are mobile and rapidly changing. By quantifying a range of mobile data (location, action, social interaction) in the context of environmental data, Carbon Creditor will help connect individuals to large-scale entities like carbon markets, countries who trade on these markets, and the environment itself.

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

People who want to better contribute, via simple actions, to environmental restoration; people working with carbon credit who want to expand the market in innovative ways.

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

  • Through publicity from our organizations and that of our affiliated organizations (see below)
  • Through mobile app markets, and perhaps even through carbon markets
  • Through public programs that explore the link between individuals, groups, forests, and carbon credit markets. One of these programs would center around our adviser Harry Surjadi (see below).

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

Our primary connection for this project is Harry Surjadi, a Knight International Journalism Fellow working with UN REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation), in which he is training indigenous “Information Brokers” to gather (de)forestation information, which is then used by the Indonesian government and the UNFCC to evaluate Indonesia’s Carbon Credit rating.

We will also leverage the knowledge of our OpenIR advisers from
IBM,,, MIT Media Lab, MIT Public Service Center, UN Global Pulse, Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, Ushahidi, Public Laboratory of Open Tech and Science, and We are also a part of the CrisisMappers, Geeks without Bounds, Standby Task Force, and CrisisCommons communities.

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

We’ve developed the needed skills from working on these various projects:

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

Success is a better understanding for all stakeholders, from credit traders, to everyday individuals, to even the OpenIR team, of how carbon credits are calculated, and to what extent we can participate in creating them. This project will also take a critical look at the idea of an environmental market, and extreme success for the project would be some kind of impact on governments’ environmental and market policy.

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

Time, work  and server space, mobile/VOIP/internet, computers (in-kind), mobile SDK fees (i.e. iOS developer’s program), mobile test devices.

Additional details:
Please list who is on your team:
Arlene Ducao, Ilias Koen, Juhee Bae, DuKode/OpenIR collaborators

Expected number of months to complete project:

Estimated Project Cost:
Arlene Ducao

Email address:

Organization [if applicable]:
The DuKode Studio | MIT Media Lab

Brooklyn | Cambridge


How did you learn about the contest?
Knight Newsletter