(Published first on The Huffington Post’s Off the Bus)
The Knight Foundation announced its News Challenge Award winners last week at the Interactive Media Conference in Las Vegas. Sixteen projects will share various portions of this year’s $5.5 million prize. With the News Challenge, Knight aims to fund new-media innovations that “transform community life.” This year’s winners include digital culture all-star Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the World Wide Web, and ten “young creators” or applicants who are less than 25 years old.
Also among the winners was Denver Open Media, a two-year-old independent public access broadcast project. (disclosure: I am a recent addition to the DOM board.) The organization won a two-year $380,000 grant to help share its open-platform business model with stations nationwide, connecting public access stations across the country to create a new-style broadcast network. The small DOM staff trains people to film and edit their programs and upload them to the Web. The programs then play on three local TV stations and on the internet. Viewers can text in ratings and comments on each show. The rating and comments appear onscreen in realtime. Programs that garner the most votes move into the best time slots. Program quality, styles and purposes vary wildly.