Knight News Challenge grant proposals: Technically Philly and NEast Philly


With an Oct. 15 deadline looming, I’ve had my hand in two submissions requesting funds from the Knight Foundation’s News Challenge program.

One I wrote in conjunction with Shannon McDonald, requesting $40,000 to launch a Neighborhood Correspondents program for NEast Philly, a hyperlocal news site for Northeast Philadelphia.

The second was a proposal from the three of us behind Technically Philly, seeking $250,000 to help establish a sales, marketing and business services company to help grow and unite niche news sites in Philadelphia.

Of course, we were knocked from contention for a $10,000 Knight-Batten grant by the New York Times, but we think we have a good pitch on another day. Who knows what could happen?

Give both a look, comment, rate and spread the word. We won’t find out until November if we’re in the running and not until 2010 if we’d get any money. Still, a kid can dream, right?

See briefs of the two pitches below.

NEast Neighborhood Correspondents: create a sustainable network of professionally trained citizen journalists to cover their own neighborhood civic meetings and local events. ($40,000)

The details: We intend to rent a small, centrally located office that will serve as an open newsroom for residents and our small staff. We’ll choose a resident from each neighborhood to receive basic journalism training, professional support, access to multimedia equipment and a small payment of roughly $15 per post, if they share an update from their neighborhood at least once a week. They will include coverage of monthly civic meetings, but also updates on community events and interviews with other residents. Their coverage will then be curated by our professionally trained editor, whose time will be freer to track trends and write larger, more in-depth pieces when necessary.

Read full proposal here.

The staff blog of Philadelphia CityPaper caught wind of this.

Newsadelphia: a business, sales and marketing service for Philadelphia hyperlocal news startups ($250,000)

The details: Newsadelphia is an administrative, sales and marketing hub for a confederation of hyperlocal and otherwise targeted online-only news sites within the city of Philadelphia. By offering a variety of services for Web-based organizations like sales, IT support, event planning and marketing to decentralized editorial products, we will empower these sites to focus on their individualized editorial visions while creating sustainable, profitable media businesses. After hiring a lead sales agent and business manager, and compensating other journalists to launch similarly targeted sites built on solid business plans, we project a hub of individualized niche sites will be profitable and able to collectively afford the sales and administrative staff independently.

Read full proposal here.

Somethat that wasn’t appropriate to put in the final product but I loved: We are not newspaper refugees seeking grant money to create another foundation-dependent nonprofit news site, but rather journalism entrepreneurs who have already built a successful online-only news product and want the funding to see it connected to a variety of other hyperlocal and Philadelphia-specific verticals to begin to completely cover an important, historic city that is at risk of losing its best news-gathering organizations due to contraction and debt.

So does either have a host? Any ways we can improve? Anything else we should looking at to make these better before next week’s deadline?

3 thoughts on “Knight News Challenge grant proposals: Technically Philly and NEast Philly”

Leave a Reply