We’re very excited to announce that the Wikimedia Foundation was named a winner in the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s Knight News Challenge for our work to expand and improve Wikimedia mobile projects, particularly for users in developing countries.
As mobile technology is increasingly the primary opportunity for billions of people around the world to access the Internet, our mobile teams are working to remove the two biggest hurdles to access free knowledge: cost and accessibility. The $600,000 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.
“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.”
The Wikimedia Foundation is one of eight mobile projects to receive a total of $2.4 million today through the Knight News Challenge, which aims to accelerate projects with funding and advice from Knight’s network of media innovators. A full list of the News Challenge Mobile winners is at knightfoundation.org.
“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 from a gathering on the future of mobile at Arizona State University via live Web stream at 12:30 p.m. ET/9:30 a.m. PT, Friday, Jan. 18 at knightfoundation.org/live. (Follow #newschallenge on Twitter.) For more, visit knightfoundation.org or newschallenge.org.
Matthew Roth, Global Communications Manager, Wikimedia Foundation