Cutting Edge Journalism: The 2011 Knight News Challenge Winners

Back in June, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced the winners of their 2011 Knight News Challenge contest. The Knight News Challenge winners were awarded a total of $4.7 million in funding for their projects, including $1 million in support from Google.

“As the Internet continues to extend how we communicate, gather information, and publish, innovations in news are emerging from organizations of all sizes around the world. We applaud the initiatives recognized today in the Knight News Challenge and hope they inspire even greater innovation,” Jim Gerber, director of strategic partnerships at Google told the Knight Foundation.

This is the fifth year for the Knight News Challenge, which is a part of the Knight Foundation’s $100 million Media Innovation Initiative. Since its conception, the Challenge has funded 76 projects for a whopping $27 million. Below is a video of each the 2011 Challenge winners project pitches.

While some of the projects are still in the planning and implementation phase, others have launched and are available today for journalists of all types to take advantage of for their reporting. Francis Irving’s ScraperWiki makes it easier for journalists to collect information from across the Web by building their own data scrapers using programming languages Python and Ruby. FrontlineSMS by Sean McDonald allows non-governmental organizations in developing countries to text message with large groups of people anywhere there is a mobile signal. DocumentCloud, which we have also covered here at 10,000 Words, is the brainchild of Aron Pilhofer, editor of interactive news at The New York Times.

For more information about the Knight News Challenge, including information on how you can apply for funding, visit