Just a little over a week after announcing the winners of its News Challenge on libraries, the Knight Foundation has revealed the latest recipients of its Prototype Fund. Ten media projects will receive $35,000 in funding to help push them from early stage ideas to a formal launch.
Knight launched the Prototype Fund in 2012 in an effort to support experimentation and innovation in journalism. Winners of the fund go through a six-month design training period to build out their ideas and will present their prototypes at the end during a demo day. “Grantees get the benefit of sharing lessons as they build out their ideas, while helping us understand how to advance and learn from early stage media and information projects,” Chris Barr, Knight director for media innovation, explained in a statement.
Many of the projects in this round of winners have to do with data — from improving the ease of data storytelling (Flatsheet) to helping journalists interpret satellite imagery (Columbia University’s Conflict Analysis Toolbox). Others follow a theme of transparency — like FollowTheMoney.org, which looks to reveal election campaign financing — and the Center for Technology and Civic Life’s Online Learning Toolbox, which lets local election administrators share information with citizens.
Meanwhile, here’s a rundown on the current class of grant winners. You’ll be able to read more about some of their projects here on Idea Lab as they progress.
meet the winners
CAT (Conflict Analysis Toolbox) by Trustees of Columbia University
Project lead: Laura Kurgan
Project description: Creating a toolbox to simplify satellite data collection and interpretation, allowing journalists, humanitarian agencies and others to glean valuable information from satellite imagery during social conflicts or natural disasters.
Cloudstitch by Cloudstich Inc.
Project lead: Edward Benson
Project description: Developing a Web platform to help journalists easily create interactive, data-driven content without help from programmers.
Project lead: Seth Vincent
Project description: Developing an open source tool to help reporters curate data as a team to make it easier for journalists to pursue rich, data-driven storytelling.
FollowTheMoney.org by National Institute on Money in State Politics
Project lead: Edwin Bender
Project description: Establishing a database of election campaign finance and lobbying information to help journalists and the public see connections between political donors and elected officials.
Project leads: Dan Archer, Erin Polgreen, and Hasit Shah
Project description: Developing a mobile app to help content creators make news accessible to many different languages and literacy levels through visual tools that merge comic books, journalism and user-friendly delivery strategies.
Online Learning Toolbox by Center for Technology and Civic Life
Project lead: Tiana Epps-Johnson
Project description: Creating an online-learning toolbox for local election administrators, to complement a previously created website template, allowing them to more easily share information with citizens and improve transparency.
Open Pipe Kit
Project lead: Robert J. Steinert
Project description: Creating a tool that will help data journalists and civic hackers collect data without a programmer’s assistance or proprietary software.
PolitiFact Plug-In by Poynter Institute
Project lead: Aaron Sharockman
Project description: Designing a fact-checking plug-in for Web browsers that will allow people to request a fact-check of Internet content from PolitiFact staff; users will be able to vote on fact-check requests and make comments on flagged content.
Project lead: Xavier Damman
Project description: Establishing a unique and private Web address that journalists can share with potential sources to receive anonymous tips securely and privately through encrypted emails.
Project lead: Andrew Lih
Project description: Establishing a visitor and discovery center at the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, D.C., where the public can learn about Wikipedia and a free information culture.
Desiree Everts is the associate editor for Idea Lab and PBS MediaShift. She’s dabbled in digital media for the past decade including stints at CNET News and Wired magazine.