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.

MEGAPHONE | Giving a voice to the voiceless

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1. What is your project? [1 sentence]

Megaphone is a low-bandwidth, anonymous or pseudonymous, private and public group mobile messaging platform that helps people raise their voice.

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

Megaphone will use simple text-driven menus and voice messaging in conjunction with mobile encryption and the open Web to help people privately share discussions, and broadcast to the Web if they choose.

The system lets people leave voice messages that can be publicly or privately shared, and geo-mapped as indicated in the video indexed here:

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

Journalists trying to spread news or find stories that would otherwise not come to light, and ordinary citizens building a culture of openness.

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

Journalists will learn about Megaphone through:

- established journalist networks, such as the  Forum for African Investigative Reporters, Global Investigative Journalism Network, Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Online News Association, WJChat , journalism schools and alumni associations; digital/social media such as Twitter and Facebook

The public would learn about it from journalists, peers, NGOs and any news channels available to them, online or off.

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

I have worked with the Social Innovation Group at the MaRS Centre in Toronto, MaRS FutureLab and colleagues from the Canadian Film Centre MediaLab on this project. The SIG has offered consulting and research support, but further outreach is necessary to journalist groups identified above.

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

We have completed the prototype design and are seeking avenues to move to the system development phase.

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

Success would be enabling journalists to find and share stories that may be difficult, dangerous or impossible to surface and share with the world, and to help people in repressive regimes practise using their voice and fostering a culture of openness.

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

We need digital security, mobile software and distributed network expertise, especially for developing countries.

Additional details:
Please list who is on your team:

Saleem Khan: Project leader, journalist [editor and reporter, ex- CBC, Metro International, Toronto Star newspapers; chairman/director, Canadian Association of Journalists]; advisor, University of Toronto ThingTank Lab [Faculty of Information]; program director, Innovate News.

D. Buie, digital strategist; resident, Canadian Film Centre Media Lab
B. Chmielewski, co-founder, Sweet Caesar; Android, iOS, BlackBerry developer for clients and projects such as U2, Toronto International Film Festival, IDEO, RIM.
K. Khan: User experience strategist and designer for Global 1000, telecom, consumer technology, finance, governments; OCAD University sLab advisor; leader of UXI, Canada’s largest UX professional group.
H. Leson: Director of community engagement, Ushahidi; open source community developer, library and information technician.
M. Saniga, CA: Co-founder, near-realtime business intelligence/data insight generation software firm Quant Inc.; former finance director and manager at Cara, Dell.
Expected number of months to complete project: 9
Estimated Project Cost: 
Name: Saleem Khan
Twitter: @saleemkhan
Email address:
Organization [if applicable]: / Technovica
How did you learn about the contest?
I follow the News Challenge and have submitted proposals for years.

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