Chicago Public Media, The Lens among Knight Prototype Fund recipients

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A virtual classroom for homeschooled kids and an interface that helps content creators provide better story recommendations and search results for their audiences are among the latest public media and nonprofit news organization projects to win funding through the Knight Prototype Fund.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation backed 20 new projects through the fund with grants announced April 30. According to Knight, several of the projects “focus on data-driven storytelling, offering tools that allow journalists and others to unlock insights and answer questions by making data easier to find, analyze and understand.”

“The Prototype Fund is designed to promote learning beyond the boundaries of a single idea or project team,” said Chris Barr, Knight’s director for media innovation, in a prepared statement. “It encourages people to share lessons and develop a better understanding of user needs and the problem they are trying to solve through a thought-provoking and collaborative process.”

The foundation’s quarterly contest awards six-month, $35,000 grants to help recipients develop early-stage media ideas.

Pubmedia and nonprofit media prototype grantees in this round include:

  • “KLRN Virtual Classroom” from Alamo Public Telecommunications Council in San Antonio, Texas, which uses PBS LearningMedia and the OVEE social video platform to help homeschooled kids interact with peers online and utilize PBS’s educational offerings.
  • “Metadata Graphing Interface” from Chicago Public Media, designed to improve story recommendations and search results, giving audiences a better way to explore content.
  • “Playable Stories” from Arizona State University’s New Media Innovation Lab and Center for Games and Impact, allows journalists to produce interactive, mobile-ready news experiences in a WordPress plugin and theme.
  • Semantic Timeline Maker” from The Lens in New Orleans, extracts facts from large amounts of data like emails and news articles.

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