This month’s Carnival of Journalism is about “driving innovation” – in the wake of the end of the Knight Foundation’s News Challenge five year run, among other things. Here’s my take:
Driving innovation needs to be quick
Any innovative idea needs to be able to deploy and iterate quickly – and any scheme to fund innovation needs to support that.
Having been through the Knight News Challenge three times, and reached the final shortlist twice, I was struck each time by how much changed in the online world between the initial submission and final award: If an internet year is worth 4.7 normal years, this process was taking over 3 ‘years’ in internet time. So much changed during that period that by the time I had reached the second or third stage, I wanted to re-write the whole thing.
In contrast, when I entered Channel 4’s 4iP fund (far from perfect, but certainly faster), the time from application to approval was swift. This allowed us to spend a few months working with the funders in addressing the issues the project raised (in Help Me Investigate’s case, largely legal ones) and still being able to start work before the Knight awards had even been shortlisted.
Why the difference? Perhaps because of the next point. Continue reading