Since 2003, the winners of the Knight-Batten Awards for Innovations in Journalism have encouraged new forms of information sharing, increased user engagement, and created innovative ways to share information.
This year’s cream of the crop, announced earlier this month in Washington, D.C., were no exception.
While Storify, a publishing platform for social media, took home the top spot and a $10,000 prize, four other projects were honored and received special distinctions and monetary awards as well. West Africa Democracy Radio and NPR’s Andy Carvin and his Twitter community were presented with a $2,000 gift and Bloomberg Government and The Texas Tribune each received $1,000.
Here’s a quick look at the winners:
Storify – Used by media titans like The New York Times and NPR, Storify allows users to create stories by combining social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr all on one page. Founded in late 2009, the application was created by Burt Herman and Xavier Damman to curate a real-time narration that can be embedded or shared across different mediums. Users can also check out top stories, their total views, and even see where those views came from.
Interesting Fact: Storify recently added a feature that allows you to add a slideshow to your website.
West Africa Democracy Radio – A network of radio stations based in Dakar, West Africa Democracy Radio helps to facilitate the exchange of information between more than 10 countries in West Africa. The service has utilized Airtime radio software, SoundCloud audio-distribution, and Newscoop CMS to publish reports online. With the help of Sourcefabric, a Czech journalism nonprofit, WADR is able to broadcast 24 hours a day in English and French and on social media sites.
Interesting Fact: It partners with over 40 community radio stations and has 10 correspondents in the West African region.
NPR’s Andy Carvin and his Twitter community – If you aren’t familiar with NPR’s Andy Carvin, you must be living under a rock. Carvin has cultivated an engaging Twitter community by using his timeline as his pen and paper to record the uprising in the Middle East in real time. Not only does he piece together the story, but he validates and makes sure that each first-person account is trustworthy. He’s proven that you don’t have to be on the other side of the world to report on the Arab Spring — as long as you have an Internet connection.
Interesting Fact: He usually starts tweeting around 6:30 a.m. on the metro and unplugs around 11 p.m.
Bloomberg Government – Started in 2010, the latest venture by Bloomberg News is a subscription-based news site that combines interactive data, analytics, and traditional reporting to cover the government. BGov will cost you about $5,700 a year, but at your disposal will be white papers, in-depth reporting, and compelling content on every area of the U.S. government including health, defense, trade, and labor. It has hired more than 100 people since its inception, including data analysts and traditional reporters, and is even on schedule to be profitable in a few years.
Interesting Fact: It donated its $1,000 prize money to Committee of Concerned Journalists.
The Texas Tribune – A non-partisan, non-profit media organization, located in Austin, Texas, this startup has made data the key to its success. Texas Tribune has doubled its page views since its start in 2009, with projects such as a state employee database that allows readers to search salaries and tenures, and a public school catalog, complete with test scores, teacher experience, and historical data. The databases are by far the most popular features of its website and account for more than 63 percent of its total views.
Interesting Fact: One of its newest and most popular databases is a visualization showing all the executions on Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s watch.
Kristilyn Whigham is currently seeking a Master’s degree from Georgetown University in political journalism. She has interned in a range of media outlets including The Root, CNN Presents, ABC News, and most recently First Lady Michelle Obama’s office. Kristilyn also founded The Political Girl, a blog dedicated to covering political women.