Press releases/Wikimedia Foundation Knight News Challenge winner

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Wikimedia Foundation named winner of Knight News Challenge

$600,000 in Knight Foundation funding supports innovation across Wikimedia mobile initiatives

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – January 17, 2013 – The Wikimedia Foundation was named a winner in the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation's Knight News Challenge for its efforts to expand and improve Wikimedia's mobile projects. The Wikimedia Foundation is enhancing the Wikipedia mobile experience and making it easier to access Wikipedia, particularly for readers in developing countries.

As mobile technology is increasingly the primary opportunity for billions of people around the world to access the Internet, the Wikimedia Foundation is working to remove the two biggest hurdles to access free knowledge: cost and accessibility. The News Challenge grant will be utilized in four areas:

  • Improving the way that users experience our mobile platform on feature phones;
  • Expanding Wikipedia Zero, which gives mobile users free access to Wikipedia on their phones;
  • Developing features to improve the mobile experience regardless of how feature-rich the device is, including new ways to access Wikipedia via texting;
  • Increasing the number of languages that can access Wikipedia on mobile.

The Wikimedia Foundation is one of eight mobile projects to receive a total of $2.4 million today through the Knight News Challenge, which accelerates projects with funding and advice from Knight's network of media innovators. A full list is at knightfoundation.org.

"Knight Foundation's funding will support us making the mobile version of Wikipedia easier to use, as well as enabling us to expand Wikipedia Zero, our project with mobile operators that lets their customers access Wikipedia for free," said Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation. "I'm very happy Knight has chosen to support us; it's an important affirmation of our mobile work."

Knight Foundation, the nation's leading funder of journalism and media innovation, is committed to promoting democracy by supporting informed and engaged communities. Founded by newsmen John S. and James L. Knight, the foundation launched the Knight News Challenge in 2007 to find the next generation of innovations that help communities get the information they need.

"Wikipedia has helped define the way that people collaboratively create content. Making the site available to more people across the world will help foster and spread that culture," said John Bracken, director for journalism and media innovation at Knight Foundation.

The $600,000 News Challenge grant is for two years and follows a general support grant of $250,000 that Knight Foundation awarded to the Wikimedia Foundation in December 2012.

The Wikimedia Foundation and the other winners of the challenge will present their projects via live Web stream at 12:30 p.m. ET/ 10:30 a.m. MT Friday, Jan. 18 at knightfoundation.org/live, from a gathering on the future of mobile at Arizona State University. (Follow #newschallenge on Twitter.)

About the Wikimedia Foundation

The Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit organization that operates Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. According to comScore Media Metrix, Wikipedia and the other projects operated by the Wikimedia Foundation receive more than 483 million unique visitors per month, making them the fifth-most popular web property world-wide (comScore, November 2012). Available in 285 languages, Wikipedia contains more than 24 million articles contributed by a global volunteer community of roughly 80,000 people. Based in San Francisco, California, the Wikimedia Foundation is an audited, 501(c)(3) charity that is funded primarily through donations and grants.

Press contact
Jay Walsh
Senior Director, Communications
Wikimedia Foundation
+1 415-860-8166
jwalsh@wikimedia.org
About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit knightfoundation.org or newschallenge.org

Press contact
Andrew Sherry
Vice President for Communications
Knight Foundation
+1 305-908-2677
sherry@knightfoundation.org