The Knight Foundation's Community Information Challenge

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is consistently at the top of its game when it comes to funding journalism efforts, awarding upwards of $15 million in media arts grants in the United States annually through an extensive list of programs and initiatives. It recently announced a new community and "place-based" initiative it has dubbed the Knight Community Information Challenge. This initiative is in answer to the failings and shortcomings of the traditional news media in addressing local and regional issues and will provide up to $50,000 for geographically oriented organizations to explore innovative approaches in disseminating news and information about issues that are pertinent to their respective communities.

The Knight Community Information Challenge grants are primarily matching funds for local organizations exploring ways to meet the information needs of a given community, particularly in the area of what the Knight Foundation calls Open Government, defined as "projects that improve the way that people and governments interact." (Read Knight's director of jounalism and media innovation, John Bracken's IP profile). Individuals working in the areas of media and technology and investors looking to fund innovative approaches to this challenge are encouraged to participate, but they must partner with a qualifying foundation.

In addition to these matching funds, The Knight Foundation will also provide support in the way of Media Learning Seminars, technical assistance through Circuit Riders, and additional ongoing training. Knight is specifically looking for projects that "help people be informed about and engaged in the issues important to them." It is looking for projects that "meet an information need, foster community engagement and or help residents participate in the creation and sharing of news and information." These matching funds are expressly not meant to be used for PR or marketing purposes however.

For more detailed information about what Knight is looking for, take a look at the FAQ page. You can also email the foundation here with any questions.