Knight Awards $3.2 Million in News Challenge: Data Competition

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has announced grants totaling $3.2 million to seventeen projects focused on highlighting data as an essential element in addressing community challenges and creating opportunities for learning and innovation.

Awarded through the Knight News Challenge: Data, a collaboration between Knight, the Data & Society Research Institute and the Open Society Foundations, the grants will address issues from police misconduct and digital privacy, to expanding access to public benefits, to improving data literacy and making it easier to find and use public information. Eight of the winners will receive investments ranging from $237,589 to $470,000 each, while nine early-stage ideas will receive $35,000 each through the Knight Prototype Fund. "The winning projects reveal new ways to shape and deliver information through data — showing how it can be used to build stronger more informed communities, while inviting people to explore and innovate," said John Bracken, Knight's vice president for media innovation.

Winning projects include the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard University, which was awarded $440,000 to create a crowdsourced resource that documents and visualizes how companies share personal data; Data Equity for Main Street, a collaborative effort of the California State Library, Nevada State Library, and State of Washington Technology Solutions, which will receive $470,000 to train librarians and community members how to find, use, and give advice on the power of open data; and Stanford University, which was awarded $310,000 to compile, analyze, and release a data set of more than a hundred highway patrol stops across the country.

The Prototype Fund winners include NJ Spotlight, which will use its grant to create a tool that tracks all major bills passed in New Jersey and provides information about whether the law was enforced and milestones were met; the University of Washington, which will work to help communities maintain their privacy by building a community-driven open data service to detect cell-phone surveillance and produce high-quality cellular network data for research; and Data Quality Uplift for Government, which will work to improve the quality of government data by creating tools for quality assessment, a scorecard aimed at motivating leaders to invest in data quality, and a quality improvement protocol for local governments.

For a complete list of recipients, visit the Knight Foundation website.

"Knight News Challenge Awards $3.2 Million for 17 Ideas That Make Data Work for Communities." John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Press Release 01/26/2016.