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MIT, MTV, bloggers share honors May 30, 2007

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Convergence, Journalism, MIT5, News, Social Media.
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The Media Lab and Comparative Media Studies Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are the top winners of the Knight News Challenge contest. MIT received $5 million to create a Center for Future Civic Media to develop, test and study new forms of high-tech community news and civic engagement. The center pairs the technological innovation of the Media Lab with the social and cultural expertise of the Comparative Media Studies Program.

We talk about the fifth estate – the fourth estate is traditionally newspapers, but the fifth estate might be an army of citizens that uses new media to keep an eye both on government officials and on professional journalists. It’s an extra check in the system of checks and balances.

HENRY JENKINS Director, MIT Comparative Media Studies Program

We are moving to a Fifth Estate where everyone is able to pool their knowledge, share experience and expertise, and speak truth to power.

CHRIS CSIKSZENTMIHAILYI Director, MIT Computing Culture Research Group

“All good journalists worry about what the digital revolution is doing to the news citizens need to run their communities and their lives. Now, the awesome array of science and technology at MIT will focus on this question. From their experiments we expect to see a new generation of useful community news technology and technique,” says Eric Newton, Knight Foundation’s vice president/journalism program.

The contest challenged applicants to develop ways of using digital media to foster local communities. New England winners took home over half the grant money. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation funded the contest, pledging $25 million over five years to digital journalism efforts. Other winners are listed here.

We want to spur discovery of how digital platforms can be used to disseminate news and information on a timely basis within a defined geographic space, and thereby build and bind community. That’s what newspapers and local television stations used to do in the 20th century, and it’s something that our communities still need today.

ALBERTO IBARGUEN Knight Foundation President and CEO

Winners included a motley crew of bloggers and organizations including MTV. Funded by $1.1 million, Adrian Holavaty, one of the most talented news developers around, is leaving washingtonpost.com to start EveryBlock, an effort to create open-source apps that will let citizens “learn and act on information about their neighborhood.

Also of note, David Ardia, of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School won $250,000 to support the Citizen Media Law Project, an online legal resource for citizen journalists. Ethan Zuckerman, a research fellow at the Berkman Center won $244,000 for Rising Voices, a new project to bring people developing countries and rural areas into the blogosphere.

Lisa Williams, of Placeblogger gets $220,000 to make finding hyperlocal news easier. Richard Anderson of Village Soup gets $885,000 to create an open-source of Village Soup’s community news software. Jay Rosen and J.D. Lasica each get $15,000 while Amy Gahran and Adam Glenn, co-founders of citizen j effort I, Reporter get $90.000.

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