Knight Foundation backs 8 new projects with its Prototype Fund to foster innovative journalism

Knight Foundation backs 8 new projects with its Prototype Fund to foster innovative journalism

Journalism advocate Knight Foundation has announced eight new investments from its Prototype Fund, which will go toward early-stage projects related to media and journalism.

The foundation is using round of the investments, which max out at $50,000 per project, to move to making smaller grants at earlier stages.

“With the cost of experimentation dropping these days, it’s almost too expensive to not test an idea. So instead, we’re providing small amounts of funding, to see what works, and learn from the experiments to help move media forward,” Knight Prototype Fund head Chris Barr said.

Grant recipients and their respective projects include:

Hollaback: A mobile app for reporting street harassment directly to their cities.

eCitizens: An online service that lets citizens subscribe to alerts about issues their local government is working on.

North Central Texas Council of Governments: A new community crime watch portal updated with data from local law enforcement agencies.

Rashomon Project: A tool to help journalists assemble user-submitted content in chronological order.

Associated Press: A tool that helps journalists combine data for their stories with geographically related data sets.

OpenGenderTracking Project by Bocoup: A service for newsrooms and content providers to track gender balance among writers.

Data Toys: “Building physical and digital models of complexity in the news that encourage open-ended play.”

LAMP: An online video editor that lets students work with copyrighted materials for their media literacy class.

Recipients are tasked with using the funds to turn their ideas into demonstrations in order to decide whether it’s worth pursuing the project further.

The foundation’s Prototype Fund is one of several initiatives that it has set to quicken its pace. It has stepped up its Knight News Challenge awards to occur more often, and is putting more resources into its Enterprise Fund.

Last month, Knight Foundation announced new investments in the TED foundation, Code for america and NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service as part of its Tech for Engagement Initiative.

The organization says it has invested over $150 million since 2007.

Image credit: iStockphoto

Read next: Facebook introduces new News Feed with larger images, choice of feeds and consistent mobile design