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$50,000 PitchIt Challenge for media startups

January 13, 2011

NEW YORK, NY - The 2011 We Media PitchIt Challenge offers $50,000 in seed funding to help launch two innovative media and tech startups. It's now open for entries and the deadline to enter the challenge is Feb. 4, 2011.
To enter the challenge, go to: Finalists will pitch their ideas live before a panel of expert judges and attendees of the We Media NYC conference on April 6.
Finalists also participate in a startup bootcamp and benefit from feedback and advice from a network of expert mentors. Two winners will each earn a $25,000 sponsorship to help launch their idea.
To register for the We Media NYC conference and watch the finals, go to:
PitchIt is about ideas, not fully formed startups. It’s for would-be entrepreneurs who have bold visions for using media and technology to improve the human experience in the digital world. Unlike most innovation and startup challenges, PitchIt is open to both commercial and nonprofit ideas. Winners agree to share what they learn along the way and “pay it forward” by helping other entrepreneurs who follow in their footsteps. But they don’t give up any equity for the sponsorship.
The challenge is sponsored by the Ethics & Excellence in Journalism Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

This is the fifth year for the challenge, and the third with cash offered to help the winners do something big with their big ideas.
The We Media conference provides a platform for founders and their ideas to take center stage. The judging criteria encourage bold ideas with a potential for social and commercial impact. Previous winners include civic solutions platform SeeClickFix, independent music hub Audimated, news crowdsourcing app (still under development), and by The Extrordinairies, a microvolunteering platform.
For more information or to enter the challenge, visit:
Andrew Nachison
(703) 880-2659.
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BLUR video discussion airs on Seattle Channel

The video of the recent discussion by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel, authors of the newly released book, “BLUR — How to Know What’s True in the Age of Information Overload,” will begin airing on the Seattle Channel, Monday, January 10th.

Some of the topics discussed were: “What news sources can be trusted online?” and “How can citizens judge what information is accurate and reliable?”

The key participants were Bill Kovach & Tom Rosenstiel, the authors of the book, who were interviewed onstage by Mike Fancher, former Seattle Times executive editor. The authors, who also wrote “The Elements of Journalism,” were introduced by John Hamer, executive director of the Washington News Council). Wier Harman, executive director of Town Hall Seattle, hosted the event which was co-sponsored by the Washington News Council and Journalism That Mattters

To watch the program please go to the Seattle Channel:

It will air at the following times and is approximately 1 hour  & 32 minutes in length.

Monday, January 10, 2011 6:30 a.m.
Thursday, January 13, 2011 9:30 a.m.
Thursday, January 13, 2011 2:00 p.m.
Friday, January 14, 2011 1:00 a.m.
Friday, January 14, 2011 6:30 a.m.
Saturday, January 15, 2011 3:00 a.m.
Sunday, January 16, 2011 9:00 a.m

The Seattle Channel: Winner of the 2010 NATOA Excellence in Government Programming Award

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WNC gridiron dinner a big success

The Washington News Council’s 12th (!) annual Gridiron West Dinner, (video here, pics here) held on Friday, Nov. 12 at The Conference Center at Convention Place in Seattle brought 350 people together to “toast/roast” five former Mayors of Seattle: Wes Uhlman, Charles Royer, Norm Rice, Paul Schell and Greg Nickels. Current Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn was there to introduce his predecessors, and won some points for his good-natured remarks. To no one’s surprise, McGinn was the target of a few pointed shots himself.

It was a raucous, irreverent, edgy evening of songs, comedy, videos, slideshows and often caustic comments by “toasters/roasters” — with sharp retorts by the Mayors who were targets of the barbs. Emcee Mike Egan (who actually has a day job at Microsoft), ran the show with his usual zany aplomb, appearing in costume first as a Munchkin and later as Dorothy, as the evening’s theme was “Wizard of Oz.”  A radiant backdrop of “The Emerald City” hung behind the stage, where the five Mayors sat in soft armchairs while they took their hard medicine from various friends, colleagues, and journalists. There was even a video appearance of Mayor Gordon Clinton, who reigned during the Seattle World’s Fair (watch below).

Four extremely talented singers, dressed in spot-on costumes as Dorothy, The Tin Man, The Scarecrow, and the Cowardly Lion, kicked off the program with a hilarious sketch about politically correct Seattle, written by Jim Anderson of Cabaret Productions. Anderson also wrote many of the lyrics (aided by former KING5-TV President Eric Bremner and WNC President John Hamer) and choreographed the show, as well as running the technical side including lighting, video, audio, costumes and props.

WNC Chair Suzie Burke and Hamer welcomed the crowd and gratefully thanked all the table sponsors (including Boeing, Gates Foundation, Microsoft, Simonyi Fund & Susan Hutchison, Premera, Space Needle Corporation, Chihuly Studio, PEMCO Insurance, Puget Sound Energy, and a dozen others). Carly Hunt Koczarski sang “America the Beautiful” beautifully. Our new promotional video, by WNC Communications Strategist Jacob Caggiano, was shown while dinner was being served, giving the audience a look at how the WNC has “reinvented” itself in the past few months with a redesigned website, a blog page, an online community, a TAO of Journalism site, and other innovative programs. After dinner, the musical tribute began with songs such as “Follow the Politics Road” and ”We’re Here to Toast the Mayors, These Wonderful Mayors of Ours,” with the audience joining in while lyrics were shown on the big screens.

A video called “The Mayors,” (above) done by Ken Jones of KJ Video Productions (and a longtime KING5-TV videographer) brought down the house with its animated Jib-Jab scenes including the Mayors as Chippendale Dancers. Only Paul Schell was unable to attend in person, though he was “toasted” anyway as his cardboard cutout sat on stage and an “Anarchist from Eugene” ran out shouting pro-Schell slogans for the hospitality shown to radical demonstrators during the WTO convention. A mini-auction, raffle and “raise the paddle” segment led by Auctioneer Fred Granados featured several terrific items and fiercely competitive bidding. The evening concluded with a wry rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” followed by a Champagne & Chocolate After Party with Domaine Ste Michelle Brut (thanks to Carol Munro) and Theo’s Chocolates (thanks to Chuck Horne).

Special thanks to all those who sponsored tables or purchased tickets, for making this evening possible. Your generous (and tax-deductible) donations make the News Council’s important work possible. In addition, every dollar we receive this year will be matched by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, thanks to a special “challenge grant” arranged by Bill Gates Sr. We can’t thank Bill Sr. and the Foundation enough for their generous support of the WNC since our founding in 1998.

Our annual Gridiron West Dinners, almost always held in the aftermath of the November elections, always attract a thoroughly bipartisan crowd. The event provides a welcome opportunity for Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, Green Partiers and Tea Partiers, to come together for an evening of fun and frolic despite deep political and ideological differences. It is our hope that by enjoying a nice dinner, pouring a bottle (or two) of wine, and sharing a few laughs, people who may be deeply at odds on issues and policy will find some common ground and maybe find ways to work together better. Hey, that’s what everyone says they want these days, isn’t it?

[Also have a look at coverage of the event from Seattle Metropolitan]

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Knight News Challenge Deadline

If you have an innovative media technology idea, you might be able to
get funding from the Knight News Challenge contest.

Run by the Knight Foundation, the grant competition awards up to $5
million annually for innovative projects that use digital technology
to transform the way communities send, receive and make use of news
and information.

More info can be found here: The site
includes application information, as well as details about past

This year’s application deadline is December 1. The News Challenge is
looking for applications in four categories: mobile, authenticity,
sustainability and community.  All projects must make use of digital
technology to distribute news in the public interest.

The contest is open to anyone in the world.

A simple description of the project is all you need to apply. Submit a
brief pitch to If the reviewers like it,
you’ll be asked to submit a full proposal later.

If you have questions you can a) reference the FAQ:, or; b) check
the archived chat transcript here: (another live chat will be held
before the end of the contest period, time/date TBD)

Journalism News, JTM News

Netroots Wisconsin

Netroots Wisconsin will be a regional conference of Netroots Nation on Sept. 25 in Madison, WI. It will be a place for the Netroots folks in Wisconsin to meet each other, discuss issues, and celebrate the Cheddarsphere. We also hope to invite progressive politicians from the state, and have discussion on the future of journalism in Wisconsin, local blogging, and how to be more effective bloggers/citizen journalists.

Please visit our web site to register, suggest session topics, and to learn more.


Madison Senior Center

330 West Mifflin St.

MadisonWI 54751