Knight News Challenge 2011 Finalists

Knight says there are 28. These are the ones I am aware of who have publicly declared their finalist status, so far. In no particular order:

I mostly started making this list as a way to learn about cool projects — and you should definitely check these out — but I admit it’s also a sort of obsessive-compulsive curation instinct at work.

Last updated 6 April. Do let me know of others.

2 thoughts on “Knight News Challenge 2011 Finalists”

  1. I’m glad you’re maintaining this list! I was about to start doing the same thing, but it occurred to me that you might have already started.

    My project, based on approximately half a second of trying to think of a title, is named “The State Decoded.” Every state has their laws online, but the presentation is wretched, there’s never an API, and they really just serve to confuse people. I’m about to launch an alpha of my own version of the Virginia State Code, for which I’ve created a modular SGML parser that takes the code as input and mashes it up with legislative data from Richmond Sunlight (another creation of mine), court decisions from the state appeals and supreme courts (via an API that I built for them), opinions from the attorney general, Google News/Blogs. Then I display it in an interface that lets people add tags, create portfolios of laws that interest them, track efforts to amend that with legislation, post questions and comments, and displays information explaining legislation, courtesy of several Virginia legal aid groups. On top of all of that is an API, bulk downloads, and helpful text sprinkled throughout to help people figure out what they’re looking at. Thanks to Richmond Sunlight, I’ve already got great relationships with every major media outlet in the state, and I’m working with Media General to integrate into their Virginia news sites a JavaScript widget that displays information about legislators and legislation where contextually appropriate. The next step is to expand that to include my state code site, so that articles about the law and legal matters contain more detailed information about those laws, with access to more. And, of course, to provide journalists a place to research the law, since virtually none in this market have any training. Journalists are a huge, important audience for Richmond Sunlight, and I intend to replicate that with this state code site.

    So, all of that is already happening, Knight Foundation or no. My grant application would fund taking this code base, modifying it to use more pluggable modules, and working with open government and technology groups around the country to get it used in as many states as possible.

    A lot of folks have put a lot of work into opening legislative activities to the public. But the actual state codes remain a black hole. We’re really excited about how laws get passed, but what’s already on the books and what happens once those laws get passed, apparently we don’t care so much about. I want to change that.

    BTW, I’m excited for Overview. Y’all should really get funded. That’s a tool I could put to work immediately!

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