Competition offers up to $5 Million for Community News Innovation

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is now accepting applications for the 2010 Knight News Challenge, a contest awarding as much as $5 Million for innovative ideas using digital experiments to transform community news.

Do you have a big idea for informing and inspiring a geographic community? Does it include innovative use of new digital tools or processes such as social media, mash-ups or wikis? How about new ways to exchange information via hand-held devices like cell phones? Knight Foundation wants to know.

“You invent it. We fund it!” is the 2010 contest slogan. Open to community-minded innovators worldwide, the contest has just three rules. Projects must use digital, open-source technology, distribute news in the public interest and be tested in a local community.

Worried about someone stealing your business idea in this public forum – don’t worry. This year, applicants can enter in one of two categories. In the “open” category, submissions are available to the public for viewing and commenting. These entries can use others’ comments to revise and submit their application or proposals. In a separate “closed” category, solely Knight Foundation staff and contest reviewers will see applications.

Here’s a little motivation for you. One Knight News Challenge project, hyper-local news experiment, was recently purchased by – highlighting the market potential for innovative community information projects. Before it was purchased,’s code was published as open source, a challenge requirement that allows the public to benefit from the experiments.

The deadline for applications is Oct. 15th, so get your application in now.