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Create or Die Project Awards Announcement

On the last day of the June 3-6 Journalism That Matters event in Detroit –  – we hosted a half-day session for pitching projects.

To further the experiment, thanks to the generosity of Time Inc.’s Assignment Detroit and the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute, the JTM-Create or Die organizers invited participants to submit proposals for seed funding. We are pleased to announce the outcomes.

Our criteria:

  • Initiatives experimenting with innovations in news and information by and/or for diverse communities
  • Experiments that don’t tend to receive traditional foundation funding
  • Proposers who attended the Detroit conference

Five teams made requests.  In the spirit of helping many flowers bloom, we have provided all of them with some support.

The Recipients:

The Living Textbook helps seventh grade, primarily Arab American students to tell their stories.  Its focus on young, diverse story-tellers met our criteria well.
Principals: Emilia Askari and Joe Grimm
Award:  $500 and attendance for two at the RJI Innovation Workshop

Operation Promise: College Connection will provide an interactive, multi-media search for Michigan colleges, universities and trade schools which qualify for the Kalamazoo Promise Funding.  It experiments with crowd-sourcing and user generated content.
Principal: Sonya Bernard-Hollins
Award: $1,000 and attendance at the RJI Innovation Workshop

Front Streetwww.detiptv.com uses the Internet to enable community to take greater responsibility for their own information.  It experiments with TV on the web, working with Black, Arab, Latino, and White communities.
Principal: Tim Moore
Award: $1,000

The Michigan News Centerwww.MichiganNewsCenter.org – is a non-partisan source for issues of public interest, especially investigative reporting that performs a watchdog and accountability role.  It approaches a traditional journalistic role in a new way, with a stated intention to share tools, equipment, and their platform with voices in the African-American, Latino, Muslim, and Caucasian communities.
Principal: Steve Wilson
Award: $500 and attendance at the RJI Innovation Workshop

Red Inkhttp://www.make-them-think.org/ – provides public, socially driven and open source software for understanding consumer spending patterns. It experiments with visualization and public accessibility to aggregate data to support economic understanding and better quality social action.
Principal: Ryan O’Toole
Award: Attendance at the RJI Innovation Workshop

Additionally, mentoring support will be provided to project teams.   We’ll be tracking project progress over the next year.  So stay tuned.

Congratulations to all our requestors,
The Selection Team
Michelle Ferrier, Peggy Holman, Linda Jue, and Stephen Silha

P.S. A project that was pitched on Sunday that is actively underway is Reinventing Assignment Detroit.  Here’s an update from Juanita Anderson:

Steve [Koepp of Time Inc.’s Assignment Detroit] expressed preliminary interest in gifting the brand equity of Assignment Detroit to a sustaining multiplatform initiative, and indicated potential interest in seed funding for the project and providing funding for the initiative’s training component. We anticipate submitting a full proposal to Time, Inc. by the end of July.  We had a substantive dialogue with Steve about the house itself. While we did not rule out the possibility of requesting the house, we did suggest, given Detroit’s housing crisis and the zoning issues of the neighborhood, that the community might better be served by Time donating the house to an organization that could insure that it could be turned into a home for a family that needed a place to live.

Our primary efforts to date have been engaging in networking about the project, and gaining insights about viable organizational structure, site management and financial sustainability. Kwan Booth has been particularly helpful in providing insights in this regard. Alicia Buggs represented the initiative at the Allied Media Conference and I am at the U.S. Social Forum this week.  In the spirit of the initiative’s goal of training future journalists and storytellers, eight student filmmakers are working this week with Free Speech TV, producing short Detroit stories for inclusion in Free Speech’s streaming coverage of the U.S. Social Forum. (It should be noted that Eric Galatis made a commitment at the JTM conference that Free Speech TV would be an outlet for the initiative’s Detroit Stories.)  Our next steps include, establishing an initial web presence, galvanizing support and participation from grassroots organizations, solidifying the organizational structure and filing for incorporation, and developing our business plan.

Note: The proposals are attached below.

Attachment Size
Living Textbook.pdf 45.9 KB
Operation Promise College Connection.pdf 105.58 KB
Red Ink.pdf 99.2 KB
Michigan News Center.pdf 141.42 KB