"Change is gonna come"

I was reading the broadcast trade magazines and spotted this blurb on "New Media."  The headline read, "People who are out to change the media world." The title alone inspires me. I love it when people actually come up with solutions instead of just complaining of how bad the media business has become.

One wants to build a database for public records. Another plans to launch street-corner newscasts. A third wants to develop a tool to turn numbers into something more visually exciting than charts. They are among the projects getting parts of the $5.1 million that the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is disbursing to push the envelope on community reporting. It’s the third year of the foundation’s five-year, $25 million Knight News Challenge, an international contest to fund digital news projects. 

MediaBugs: $335,000 for a neutral independent site where the public can report, track, discuss and fix errors in news coverage.  (This is cool, how many time have you spotted a news story and said "wait that's not the truth.")

Councilpedia: $250,000 goes to the NYC-centric public policy site Gotham Gazette, which will add a feature looking at local legislators’ voting records and campaign contributions. (You have to keep them honest, and now local legislators can't hide from the public, because their voiting history is easily accessable)

Data Visualization: $243,600 is being given to the Washington DC-based Jefferson Institute to develop tools that turn numbers into charts and models that are a bit more easy on the eyes and more accessible to the public.  (I love this tool, give me numbers I can relate to, and make sense of)

Mobile Media Toolkit: $200,000 will go towards helping media outlets and citizen journalists find mobile devices and apps to create and broadcast local news reports in a project headed by MobileActive. (look out! This could give broadcast news a run for it's money, it already has)

The Daily Phoenix: $95,000 will connect Phoenix’s light rail system commuters with news, games and social networking to learn about their city.  (I don't ride the rails, but would be interested in checking this out)

Crowdsourcing Crisis Information: $70,000 for a free “breaking news web map” and timeline that combines and plots reports from citizens and journalists.  (Hey, this one is new to me, the more ideas the better)

Virtual Street Corners: $40,000 for broadcasting street corner video newscasts about two disparate Boston neighborhoods, Roxbury and Brookline, as a way to bridge the economic and cultural divides. (now you're talking, why not have a million of these hyper-local newscast, that way folks can keep up with what's happening on their street.)

CMS Upload Utility: $10,000 is being handed to Joe Boydston and the McNaughton Newspaper Company for a tool that converts and load multiple newspaper files to a web site.  (right on!)


As you see the ideas are coming in, better yet, folks are getting grants to study and implement these ideas. What do you have in mind?  How can we create better local newscasts, how can we better serve, and inform the public. We'd like to know.



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