Knight News Challenge

View the video from The Story & The Algorithm: 2012 MIT-Knight Civic Media Conference. Read and comment on the live blog created during the conference. Tweet with #civicmedia and #newschallenge.

The Knight News Challenge accelerates media innovation by funding breakthrough ideas in news and information. Winners receive a share of $5 million in funding and support from Knight’s network of influential peers and advisors to help advance their ideas.

Throughout 2012, innovators from all industries and countries are invited to participate in three challenge rounds, each with focused topics on emerging trends.

Challenge 1 - on NETWORKS - is closed, and the winners will be announced June 18.

Challenge 2 - on DATA - will be open May 31 - June 21. We’re looking for new ways of collecting, understanding, visualizing and helping the public use the large amounts of information generated each day. Winners will be announced in late September.

Details on Challenge 3 will available later this year.

Anyone, anywhere can apply for the challenge - whether for-profit start-ups or non-profit ventures. For more information on a variety of topics - from guidelines for for-profits, on intellectual property licensing, open source software and more - visit our FAQ.

bizVizz

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1. What do you propose to do? [20 words]

Mobile app enabling people to photograph a logo or enter a company’s name to instantly access tax and employment records.

2. How will your project make data more useful? [50 words]

Companies claim to be “job creators” and to contribute to our economy. But how do we judge their claims? bizVizz makes their records visible. We put metrics of “corporate citizenship” into the hands of ordinary people by providing simply presented, shareable tax and jobs data currently hidden in regulatory documents.

3. How is your project different from what already exists? [30 words]

bizVizz is easier to use than non-profit reports written primarily for policy-makers and a very convoluted tool, http://www.workingamerica.org/jobtracker/. We’ll also make our database an open API.

4. Why will it work? [100 words]

We have a sound plan:
Data partners who will train us in mining data from regulatory findings
Technology partners with experience building these kinds of apps and corresponding sites
Distribution partners to help disseminate the app quickly in order to achieve top of list status in the app store, key to successful distribution
Content partners to enrich data returns with context

bizVizz grows out of our upcoming ITVS-funded film, As Goes Janesville, about the future of our middle class and economic fairness. We’ll use the film’s launch and Nov. 5th broadcast on PBS’ Independent Lens to help promote it.

5. Who is working on it? [100 words]

Faculty Creative, (http://facultycreative.com) specializes in ultra-clean easy-to-use UI for apps and open API databases. Good Jobs First and Citizens for Tax Justice are training us to mine data from regulatory filings. To meet our goal of 5000 downloads soon after launch we are seeking distribution partnerships with The NY Times Economix Blog, Occupy, Politi-Fact, APM’s Marketplace, the Good Guide (http://goodguide.com), and Good Magazine. Content partners populating a contextual news stream include ProPublica, Center for Investigative Reporting and Economix. Our initial funder, ITVS, is facilitating communication with Apple, Mozilla and other interested parties.

6. What part of the project have you already built? [100 words]

We have a refined plan for both the bizVizz mobile app and a corresponding website. We’ve settled on initial target partnerships. We have working partnerships with Center for Investigative Reporting, Faculty Creative, Good Jobs First and outreach underway to others. By September, 2012, we will have convened our first partners meeting, trained our team to do the necessary data mining, built a working prototype populated by roughly 50 Fortune 500 companies, and formulated our detailed marketing/distribution plan. ITVS will enhance our distribution/marketing strategy with its relationship to the App Store editorial board who’s considering “feature” status for bizVizz.

7. How would you use News Challenge funds? [50 words]

Next phase to grow the database to 500+ companies, expand and deepen partnerships to add more users, build richer contextual news streams and incorporate new data (ie: campaign contributions). We also want to add a bizVizz browser plug-in and work with our partners to develop a sustainability plan.

8. How would you sustain the project after the funding expires? [50 words]

We will work with partners like Good Guide to develop a sustainability plan modeled on certification (as in Green or Fair Trade) that gives consumers who care confidence in patronizing highly-rated bizVizz companies. To that end, we’ve begun informational discussions with organizations involved with Fair Trade and Green certification.

Requested amount: $220,000

Expected number of months to complete project: 10
Total Project Cost: $395,000 (ITVS has committed 75k, We are finalists for Tribeca New Media fund request of $100,000)
Name: Brad Lichtenstein
Twitter: @bradleylbar @371productions
Email address [optional]: brad@371productions.com
Organization: 371 Productions
City: Milwaukee
Country: USA
How did you learn about the contest? twitter

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