Live from Austin: The 2015 Knight News Challenge Winners

July 22, 2015

The Democracy Fund congratulates the Knight News Challenge winners announced yesterday at the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life at the University of Texas at Austin.

The wide range of solutions the winners will deploy seek to inform voters about the candidates and issues at both the local and national levels, as well as to help reduce barriers to getting people to the polls. Their projects cover efforts ranging from increasing transparency in campaign financing to increasing voter participation by providing informational tools on election processes, candidates, and issues. The Democracy Fund was especially excited about the number of the applicants and winners from the state and local election official communities. From the Rhode Island Secretary of State Natalie Gorbea to Cook County Clerk David Orr, this pool of winners really highlights the ability of elections offices to embrace innovation.

When the Democracy Fund joined in launching this challenge on better informing voters and increasing civic participation with the Knight Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, and Rita Allen Foundation, we had great hopes for the creativity it might reveal and are looking forward to seeing the work of the winning projects:

The Democracy Fund contributed $250,000 to the total $3.2 million awarded yesterday, and we believe it is money well-invested. Ten of the winners will receive investments of $200,000 to $525,000 each, while 12 early-stage ideas will receive $35,000 each through the Knight Prototype Fund, which helps people explore early-stage media and information ideas.

The Democracy Fund is encouraged and hopeful as we prepare for the next chapter of the News Challenge: the launch of these creative ideas. To those who didn’t win, we want to recognize the courage it takes to put an idea on public display, and we encourage those who were not selected to keep pursuing feedback and partnerships in your efforts.

Good luck to all!

Democracy Fund
1200 17th Street NW Suite 300,
Washington, DC 20036