Ideas blueprint
Credit: By KOMUnews on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

The Knight Foundation has pledged prototype funding to eight "media innovations", including concepts for several journalism-focused tools which would help with the handling of data and user-generated content.

The prototype fund
makes grants of a maximum of $50,000 available to those with plans for platforms, tools and services, with the idea that the backing will be used to turn the proposal into a reality which can then be put into practice.

Projects which have previously received backing in their early stages include the Washington Post's Truth Teller app, the prototype for which was released at the beginning of this year after receiving $50,000 from the prototype fund. Other recipients of the funding include co-founder of the Public Insight Network Andrew Haeg for his idea for GroundTruth, which will offer mobile phone contact between journalists and possible sources.

The latest round of funding includes a plan by the Associated Press to "make newsrooms more efficient by creating a tool that enables journalists to easily combine data for their stories with geographically related data sets", a release from the Knight Foundation says.

It adds that at the moment this process can be "a significant technical hurdle for many reporters on deadline".

Other concepts to receive funding include the Rashomon Project, which looks at improving the way user-generated content is worked with. According to the release, the project wants to build "an improved tool to review user-submitted content by allowing users to easily assemble video of breaking news chronologically" to present the "various angles" of the story.

There is also backing for a platform which will help the media look at itself. The OpenGenderTracking Project will measure the representation of gender in the press.

The project will use its grant to produce the prototype and "conduct two case studies with the Boston Globe and Global Voices", the release adds, with the "service" looking at both the gender of those producing the content and those who appear within it.

Another funded plan to build a "community crime watch portal" featuring data and mapping functionality could also prove useful to the newsroom, with those behind the concept, North Central Texas Council of Government, said to be "partnering with the Dallas Morning News".

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