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About $2 million Goes to Knight News Challenge 2009 Winners

The Knight Foundation announced its nine winners for the 2009 Knight News Challenge. The total award for this year was about $2 million, which is substantially less than awards in years 2007 and 2008. Those two years had a combined total of about 40 awards as compared to this year’s nine.

The top money winner for 2009 was DocumentCloud for  $719,500:

DocumentCloud is a web site that will enhance investigative reporting by making source documents easy to find, share and read. While rich source documents are the foundation of investigative journalism, too often reporters throw or tuck them away after a story fades, never to be used again. DocumentCloud will provide an online database of documents contributed by a consortium of news organizations, watchdog groups and bloggers, and shared with the public at large. Users will be able to search by topic, agency or location. Reporters will benefit from the wisdom of the crowd, which will be able to collaboratively examine large document sets.

I sent the following email to Gary Kebbel at Knight, am waiting for a return answer:

I notice there are substantially fewer Knight Challenge Awards this year compared to the last two years and the total award this year is significantly smaller than in 2008 and 2007. Could you tell me the reason for a blog post at the

Might it be the economy affecting the Knight endowment or a lack of high quality ideas?

Update: Gary Kebbel from Knight answers above question:

Hi, Leonard,

I think the reviewers were really tough this year, perhaps because they had seen two previous years of projects

By the way, in the interest of full disclosure, here is one idea that did not make the final cut.

Update: June 18: Nieman Journalism Lab does extensive interview with Kebbel about fewer winners.


2 Responses to “About $2 million Goes to Knight News Challenge 2009 Winners”

  1. kacher Says:

    Hi – if you are interested in the reviewers opinions – look here –

  2. astillero Says:

    Abriendo el código fuente: premios Knight Foundation 2009…

    Entre los ganadores de las becas Knight News Challenge de este año hay dos proyectos que me han gustado especialmente: Document Cloud y Ushahidi.