Learning from Experimentation: An assessment of early News Challenge Winners

Published on the Knight Blog by by Mayur Patel and John S. Bracken

When Knight Foundation launched the News Challenge in September 2006, the media landscape looked a lot different than it does today. The iPhone was merely a rumor-- Motorola's Razr was the top selling phone. Twitter was still a project of ODEO and, for many of us, RSS was the future of distribution on the Internet. Netflix, which had 5.6 million customers compared to 24 million now, had yet to launch the Netflix Prize.

Since then we've experienced a constant stream of new ideas, practices and behaviors. Though the scene changes rapidly, lessons still matter. In some ways, they're more important than ever if they can help us get a sense of the bigger picture.

Funding innovation requires openness to experimentation and a commitment to learn and adapt. In this spirit, we asked LFA Group, an evaluation and consulting firm, to take a closer look at the first two cohorts of News Challenge winners (2007 and 2008) to better understand their impact and influence. (As Mayur mentioned recently, the review is part of an ongoing assessment of the News Challenge; we are tracking the continuing progress of 2009, 2010 and soon to be announced 2011 winners. The findings from this also will be shared on a regular basis.) Read more on the Knight Blog