Knight News Challenge winners may help students

Twitter is abuzz with the announcement of the 2009 winners of the Knight News Challenge, a project that funds news experiments with the goal of helping communities.

Some interesting ideas got funded — ideas that have the potential to help journalism teachers and students.

My favorite is DocumentCloud, a non-profit effort by the New York Times and ProPublica to offer an online place where the public can access and share documents. Very cool. Can you imagine the stories students can do if they can easily access documents? FOIA and FOIL requests are great, but even if you get what you want, they take a while. The DocumentCloud documents will be there for the taking, and hopefully inspire journalism students to add to the collection. What a great learning experience.

Other ideas funded also lend themselves to classroom use. Take Mobile Media Toolkit, an idea to make it easier for people to get the applications and tools needed to do reporting.

One of the things I like best about this is it has the potential to allow my journalism students to get excellent experience without having to spend a fortune. I teach at a state school, and we simply don’t have the resources that larger, private journalism schools do (and quite frankly, neither do most of our students). Thanks, Knight News Challenge and Knight Foundation, for an effort that could help many future journalists.

Applications for the 2010 Knight News Challenge start being accepted in September.

What are you still doing here? Get to work on that application! Journalism students everywhere need you. 🙂

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