Sunday, May 27, 2007

Rural areas benefit from Knight News Challenge grants

Al Cross's Rural Blog from the University of Kentucky has a nice summary of a few rural projects benefiting from the first few grants from the Knight Foundation.

Here's a few grafs from the May 23 piece:
"The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced today the first grants in its Knight News Challenge, a five-year contest offering $25 million in awards for ideas and projects that use digital news or information to build and bind community in specific geographic areas. As Eric Newton, the foundation’s vice president of journalism programs, describes it, the contest combines 'nerds, news and neighborhoods.” And Knight's 'neighborhoods' includes some rural places.
"The largest grant with rural impact is $885,000 to Richard Anderson, president and owner of VillageSoup Inc., a company that provides places for residents to learn, share and shop in their neighborhoods or towns. The grant will be used to create an open-source version of VillageSoup’s successful community news software, combining professional journalism, blogs, citizen journalism, online advertising and 'reverse publishing' from online to print. Anderson says his goal is 'Turning independent weekly newspaper companies and entrepreneurs into an imposing, lively, worldwide creative energy that is competitive with media company chains.'
"The next largest grant with rural impact is $244,000 to Ethan Zuckerman, a research fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School. With Rebecca MacKinnon, he is the cofounder of Global Voices (, an international community of bloggers and citizen journalists that has introduced readers around the world to the brilliant, funny, insightful and touching voices of bloggers from developing nations. The grant will be used to introduce thousands of new developing world bloggers to the world, helping students, journalists, activists and people from rural areas to the blogosphere. 'It’s becoming clear that the world is listening, so now we’re trying to get new groups of people talking.'
"The second round's application period begins July 1."