Knight Foundation has unveiled the list of winners of its latest Knight News Challenge, which focused on data-related projects. Following the announcement, these six teams will receive a total of $2.2 million to accelerate their ventures.

The foundation first launched Knight News Challenge in 2007, and decided that the three rounds it is organizing this year would concentrate on specific verticals.

After awarding 6 network-related projects last June, it is now granting funds to ideas that “make it easier to access and use information on local communities, air quality, elections, demographics and more.” Here are the winners:

  • Safecast: Creating a community of citizen and professional scientists to measure and share data on air quality in Los Angeles and other U.S. cities. The air quality effort is inspired by Safecast’s success in providing radiation data following Japan’s 2011 nuclear disaster.
  • LocalData: Providing a set of tools that communities can use to collect data on paper or via a smartphone app, then export or visualize the data via an easy-to-use dashboard. The city of Detroit has used the tools, created by Code for America fellows, to track urban blight.
  • Open Elections: Creating the first freely available, comprehensive source of U.S. election results, allowing journalists and researchers to analyze trends that account for campaign spending, demographic changes, legislative track records and more. Senior developers from The Washington Post and The New York Times lead the project.
  • kncdata collage 1280px 520x292 Knight News Challenge awards $2.2 million to the winners of its Data roundNew Tools for OpenStreetMap: Launching tools that make it easier for communities to contribute to OpenStreetMap, the community-mapping project used by millions via foursquare and Wikimedia and becoming a leading source for open, street-level data. DevelopmentSeed will create the tools.
  • Pop Up Archive: Taking multimedia content – including audio, pictures and more – from the shelf to the Web, so that it can be searchable, reusable and shareable. Founded by University of California grad students, the project beta tested by helping archive the collection of the independent, Peabody-winning production team the Kitchen Sisters.
  • Census.IRE.org: Providing journalists and the public with a simpler way to access Census data, so they can spend less time managing the information and more time analyzing it and finding trends. The project is led by a senior developer from the Chicago Tribune in partnership with Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE).

As you can see, the projects use data for journalism and media innovation:

 “The winning projects go well beyond collecting data to unlocking its value in simple and powerful ways, so journalists can analyze numbers and trends, and communities can make decisions on issues important to them,” says Michael Maness, vice president for journalism and media innovation at Knight Foundation.

Following Networks and Data, Knight Foundation’s third challenge this year will focus on Mobile. According to the organizers, the call for applications was recently closed and winners will be presented in January.