Knight Names Mobile Challenge Winners

The eight media innovation ventures, ranging from projects that turn no-frills mobile phones into radio stations to applications that help newsrooms manage a deluge of incoming mobile content, received a total of $2.4 million.
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NetNewsCheck,

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation today announced the winners of its Knight News Challenge: Mobile.

The eight media innovation ventures, ranging from projects that turn no-frills mobile phones into radio stations to applications that help newsrooms manage a deluge of incoming mobile content, received a total of $2.4 million.

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Perhaps the biggest name among the winners is Wikipedia, which was recognized for its plan to develop new tools to allow people to access articles and knowledge via text message in multiple languages. The project is part of the Wikimedia Foundation’s efforts to offer access in the developing world to its site without prohibitive data charges.

“In 2013 the number of Internet-enabled mobile devices is expected to be greater than the number of computers for the first time. These eight Knight News Challenge projects, and the innovators behind them, are helping to stretch the ways people around the world are engaging with information and using it to shape their communities,” Michael Maness, VP for journalism and media innovation at Knight Foundation, said in a statement.

Winners will present their projects via a live Web stream at 12:30 p.m. ET Friday, Jan. 18, from a gathering on the future of mobile media at Arizona State University.

In addition to Wikipedia, winners include:

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WITNESS: Helping newsrooms authenticate the deluge of photos and videos emerging from news events by creating an app that automatically stamps the content with identifying information, including the location where it was taken. The project is lead by the human rights organization WITNESS in partnership with The Guardian Project.

Digital Democracy: Enabling residents of the Peruvian Amazon to document the effects of mining and oil drilling by creating a mobile tool kit they can use to collect and share data.

RootIO: Piloting software that will connect basic mobile phones with a transmitter to turn them into micro community radio stations. The effort is being tested in Uganda.

Abayima: Creating an app that turns a SIM card into a storage device for news and information. The app will be particularly useful in crisis situations, allowing journalists and others to safely transfer information when communication networks are compromised or disabled.

Textizen: Expanding the ways governments can collect citizen input by enabling it through text. Piloted through Code for America, Textizen works by placing survey questions in physical places like parks and bus stops where residents will encounter them and can text in their opinion.

TKOH: Creating a more natural tool for recording oral histories with an app that prompts people to tell stories when they see pre-selected photos or videos.

Cafédirect Producers’ Foundation: Connecting small farmers in developing countries with advice and feedback via a platform through which they can ask questions and have them quickly answered by farmers in other communities. In the pilot, a Kenyan farmer received advice on frost control and tips on raising rabbits.

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