Entries for the first of three 2012 Knight News Challenges opened on Monday, with a twist: This year’s application form is being hosted on Tumblr.
The theme of this challenge, with $5 million total in grant money, is networks. In this context, that means:
Witness the roles of networks in the formation, coverage and discussion of recent events such as the rise of the Tea Party, flash mobs, the Arab Spring, last summer’s UK riots and the Occupy movement. We’re looking for ideas that build on the rise of these existing network events and tools – that deliver news and information and extend our understanding of the phenomenon.
The Tumblr will be used for others to offer support, and critiques, for the entries. The entrance form is simplified this year, asking only 7 questions (and requiring succinct answers), ranging from “What do you propose to do?” (20 words maximum) to “How would you sustain the project after the funding expires?” (50 words maximum).
Entries appear on the homepage of the Tumblr. Within hours of the Tumblr going live, 14 entries were already posted and displayed prominently on the homepage, underscoring the popularity of the News Challenge.
The News Challenge is a major source of grant money for journalism-related projects. Last year, prizes ranged from $10,000 to $1 million. The average prize was $294,000. Past winners include Document Cloud and ScraperWiki.
In keeping with their use of social media this year, the challenge’s organizers will host a Google+ hangout tomorrow (Wednesday) at 1 p.m. ET to answer any questions.
Applications will be accepted until March 17.
Below is a video that explains more about the Knight News Challenge.