Knight News Challenge: You invent it. We fund it.

A reader alerted Sunapee News to the 2010 Knight News Challenge. It’s open to community-minded innovators worldwide.

“You invent it. We fund it!”

That’s the slogan for the 2010 Knight News Challenge, a contest awarding as much as $5 million for innovative ideas using digital experiments to transform community news. The deadline for applications is Oct. 15. The contest is part of the Knight Foundation’s $100 million plus Media Innovation Initiative, which strives to help meet community information needs by, in part, seeding experiments that the market will ultimately sustain.

Do you have a big idea for informing and inspiring a geographic community? Does it include innovative use of new digital tools or processes such as social media, mash-ups or wikis? How about new ways to exchange information via hand-held devices like cell phones? Knight Foundation wants to know.

The contest has just three rules. Projects must use digital, open-source technology, distribute news in the public interest and be tested in a local community.

“We want entries to push the bounds of the imagination,” said Gary Kebbel, Knight Foundation’s journalism program director. “But they don’t always have to involve the invention of something completely new. We’re also searching for innovative twists on familiar tools.”

Want an insider’s edge to the application process? The newly launched News Challenge blog features lessons from past winners and a behind-the-scenes looks at the contest judging. Also, Knight staff will answer questions during a live chat at 2 p.m. on Oct. 8. Read the blog and participate in the chat at www.newschallenge.org.

For more on Knight Foundation’s Media Innovation Initiative, visit www.mediainnovation.org.

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