The challenge focuses on innovative ideas for disseminating news and information to local communities with digital technologies. Winners receive funding to move their ideas forward. The best known from the geo perspective is Adrian Holovaty’s EveryBlock, now owned by MSNBC.com.
The largest amount given out, $400k, went to Eric Rodenbeck and his data visualization project CityTracking. Rodenbeck is the founder and creative director of Stamen, a company well-known for its great visualizations and maps. (I am using some of Stamen work in discussing the future of cartography in my class at Penn State this summer.) So what is CityTracking?
To make municipal data easy to understand, CityTracking will allow users to create embeddable data visualizations that are appealing enough to spread virally and that are as easy to share as photos and videos. The dynamic interfaces will be appropriate to each data type, starting with crime and working through 311 calls for service, among others. The creators will use high design standards, making the visuals beautiful as well as useful.
A second visualization tool, Tilemapping, was granted $74,000. It’s from Eric Gunderson of DevelopmentSeed,
To inspire residents to learn about local issues, Tilemapping will help local media create hyper-local, data-filled maps for their websites and blogs. Journalists will be able to tell more textured stories, while residents will be able to draw connections to their physical communities in new ways. The tools will be tested in Washington, D.C. Ushahidi, a 2009 Knight News Challenge winner, used a prototype after the earthquake in Haiti to create maps used to crowdsource reports on places needing aid.
Two other winners, GoMap Riga and LocalWiki, both hope to engage locals in building local news sites. CitySeed uses tagging to create local conversation of ideas. And, a shout out to John Davidow, of my local NPR station, WBUR, who won for a project to develop best practices for covering court cases.
- News Challenge Blog