Here at MediaShift Idea Lab, you get to hear directly from all the innovators who received grants from the Knight Foundation in the News Challenge. Now, you have the chance to join them by coming up with an idea that will help connect communities with technology and the Internet and help create the next generation of community news. Yes, times are tough for newspapers and traditional media, as the shift continues toward digital media. But Idea Lab represents hope for change in journalism, new ideas that will help lead us into a journalism future that will include more voices and more platforms to deliver vital information.

Here’s the information on how you can still apply for a grant in the next round of the News Challenge — the deadline is November 1, so act fast!

Here is how Knight describes the Challenge on its website:

We’re giving away around $5 million in 2009 for the development and distribution of neighborhood and community-focused projects, services, and programs.

If you have a great idea that will improve local online news, deepen community engagement, bring Web 2.0 tools to local neighborhoods, develop publishing platforms and standards to support local conversations or innovate how we visualize, experience or interact with information, we’d like to see it! You have the opportunity to win funding for your project and support within a vibrant community of media, tech, and community-oriented people who want to improve the world.

There are three rules to follow to apply to the 2009 Knight News Challenge:

1. Use or create digital, open-source technology as the code base.
2. Serve the public interest.
3. Benefit one or more specific geographic communities.

Good luck, and I look forward to welcoming the winners of the next round to blog regularly here at MediaShift Idea Lab.

APPLY HERE

— Mark Glaser, editor, Idea Lab