In 2012, the Knight News Challenge, an international media innovation contest, is evolving – and will be offered three times, with three different topics. The first challenge will be centered on networks, and will accept applications Feb. 27 – March 17. The Networks challenge round seeks projects that use the best of existing software and platforms – those already integrated into people’s lives – to find new ways to convey news and information. Winners will be announced in June. Future categories will be announced later this year. Each of the three rounds will be eight to 10 weeks long, for shorter, more focused contests that better mirror the pace of innovation. Anyone, anywhere can apply.

The News Challenge is part of Knight Foundation’s $100 million plus Media Innovation Initiative, which seeks new ways to meet community information needs in the digital age. Over its first five years, Knight Foundation reviewed more than 12,000 applications and funded 76 projects for $27 million.

Winners have included leading Internet entrepreneurs, emerging media innovators and legacy newsrooms. Past projects have been adopted by large media organizations and are having an impact. DocumentCloud, which helps journalists analyze, annotate and publish original source documents, is being used by more than 200 newsrooms nationwide. Ushahidi has helped map information in crises from Haiti to Japan. hNews, a project by Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee and the Media Standards Trust, is also being used by more than 200 newsrooms including the Associated Press. It allows readers to see the source of information in online articles.

DREAM:IN USA is one of the entries this year.

Today is the last day to ‘like’ DREAM:IN USA in the Knight News Challenge,

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