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Citizen Science and Transparency Projects Among Knight News Challenge Winners Announced Today

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, June 22 2011

Today, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation* announced the winners of the fifth and final year of the Knight News Challenge, explaining how it will allocate this year's nearly $5 million pool of money to support projects for innovation in news.

The Public Laboratory, a Cambridge, Mass.-based project to work with communities to help them produce information about their surroundings, received a $500,000 award. At Personal Democracy Forum 2011, Public Laboratory founders Jeff Warren and Liz Barry explained their work and announced that they will publish a repository of citizen-produced scientific data online. The award is to build a toolkit for citizen-based, grassroots data gathering and research.

There are several winners that are new to us, like NextDrop, a project to build a system to notify residents of a town in India via mobile device when water is available.

Other winners might be familiar to techPresident readers, like:

  • ScraperWiki, a platform for scraping data from websites not designed to give them up in a convenient way ($280,000);
  • OpenBlock Rural, which builds on the OpenPlans project OpenBlock to aggregate news and data using the system that powers EveryBlock (got that?);
  • SwiftRiver, a tool to manage data (like tweets) in real-time;
  • FrontlineSMS, a large-scale text messaging platform for non-governmental organizations.

The full list is available here.

* The Knight Foundation also funded Personal Democracy Forum's 10Questions project in 2010.

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