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FrontlineSMS to bring new mobile tools to journalists around the world with $250,000 Knight News Challenge grant

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Photo credit: Ken Banks, kiwanja.net

FrontlineSMS will develop new tools to enable digital news gathering anywhere there’s a mobile signal with $250,000 awarded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The support is part of the Knight News Challenge, an annual media innovation contest founded and run by Knight Foundation, and supported this year by Google. You can read the Knight Foundation’s page about the announcement here.

With the award, FrontlineSMS, an initiative of the Kiwanja Foundation, will build two key products for journalists and broadcasters: one to facilitate participatory journalism, interaction and collaboration from community members and audiences, and one to enable journalists to use their simple mobile phones as powerful reporting tools. Throughout the project, the FrontlineSMS team will benefit not only from Knight’s financial support, but also its extensive global network of journalists and media innovators, people whose insights and experience will help shape the development and deployment of these tools.

According to Ken Banks, the creator of FrontlineSMS, “Working with our user community, we’ve seen the challenges that last-mile populations face in sending and receiving critical information.  Thanks to an incredible group of innovative journalists and other partners, we’ve also seen the potential of mobile technologies to improve the quality and quantity of news all over the world.  With the generous support of Knight Foundation, FrontlineSMS will build tools that bridge the gap between challenge and opportunity, engaging previously under-served communities in the news and conversations that affect their lives.”

“FrontlineSMS has been a trail blazer for the creative application of mobile technology in low-bandwidth rural areas,” said John Bracken, director of digital media, Knight Foundation. “We’re excited to help them to apply their knowledge and tools towards addressing the information needs of rural communities.”

The award itself was presented during a ceremony at the 2011 Knight-MIT Civic Media Conference on Wednesday, June 22, at 2:30pm EDT. Sean McDonald, FrontlineSMS’ Director of Operations: Americas, accepted the award. You’ll hear more from Sean about the event in an upcoming blog post.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged.

For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org

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14 Responses to “FrontlineSMS to bring new mobile tools to journalists around the world with $250,000 Knight News Challenge grant”

  1. Domingo Liotta 22 June 2011 at 9:07 pm #

    Wow!

    A wonderful project indeed. Will the tools developed also available to the world? I´m sure many developing countries will benefit.

    I´ll volunteer to help translate into Spanish if it Helps

    Best regards
    Domingo

  2. florence 23 June 2011 at 5:09 pm #

    Thanks very much, Domingo! The tools we produce certainly will be open source and freely available, just as FrontlineSMS is. Thanks for the kind offer of translation; we will certainly let you know if we need to take you up on this.

    Really appreciate your ongoing support! o/

  3. Aleksei Ivanov 13 July 2011 at 10:40 pm #

    Good news, friends!

    I’ll volunteer to help translate into Russian as usualy :)

    Kind regards, Aleksei

  4. Laura 14 July 2011 at 5:31 am #

    Thanks Aleksei! o/

  5. Bai 19 July 2011 at 12:03 pm #

    When should we expect at least the beta version?

  6. hun sokhem 20 July 2011 at 5:48 am #

    Congratuation!

    new tool?

    I can help you to translate into Cambodian.

    cheer,

    khem

  7. florence 20 July 2011 at 10:07 am #

    @Bai It is currently too early for us to give an estimation, but we will certainly keep you posted on progress!

    @Khem Many thanks. And appreciate your offer of help, too. We will add you on to our growing list of volunteer translators!

    Thanks to everyone for kind support on this!

  8. meergabol 15 February 2012 at 10:03 am #

    hello

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Bringing mobile tools to new audiences : FrontlineSMS - 19 July 2011

    [...] Bringing mobile tools to journalists around the world: A recent award from the Knight Foundation will allow FrontlineSMS to develop new tools to enable digital news gathering anywhere there’s a mobile signal. [...]

  2. FrontlineSMS to bring mobile tools to journalists around the world | ChangeWaves - 21 July 2011

    [...] http://www.frontlinesms.com/2011/06/22/frontlinesms-to-bring-new-mobile-… [...]

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    [...] of radio broadcasters. The FrontlineSMS:Radio project, which serves as the foundation of our Knight News Challenge project, has given us insight into both the priorities and challenges facing community radio stations in [...]

  5. MediaShift Idea Lab: FrontlineSMS Gives Radio Listeners a Voice Through Text Messages : FrontlineSMS - 24 October 2011

    [...] needs of radio broadcasters. The FrontlineSMS:Radioproject, which serves as the foundation of our Knight News Challenge project, has given us insight into both the priorities and challenges facing community radio stations in [...]

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    [...] Credit, who shared information on upcoming FrontlineSMS development and piqued my interest in an upcoming initiative focusing on media. - Anahi Ayala Lacucci of Internews Network, whose presentation of the Zambia Disaster Simulation [...]

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