Reese News Lab wins Knight News Challenge

Jul 22 2015

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — The Reese News Lab in the UNC School of Media and Journalism has been awarded $150,000 as part of the Knight News Challenge on Elections for Campaign Hound, a searchable archive and alert service that enables users to monitor political speeches remotely.

The Knight News Challenge, an initiative of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, accelerates media innovation by funding breakthrough ideas in news and information. Campaign Hound was selected for funding from more than 1,000 entries. It is one of 22 winners in the Knight News Challenge on elections, which sought ideas to better inform voters and increase civic participation before, during and after elections.

Campaign Hound uses crowdsourcing to gather recordings of speeches and generate transcripts, enabling subscribers to search for exact words spoken by politicians. In addition, it alerts subscribers when custom keywords are spoken on the campaign trail.

“Campaign Hound can and will help us hold our officials more accountable,” said John Clark, executive director of the Lab. “It will turn the daily horse race into something more.”

Associate Director Sara Peach said news organizations are always looking for tools to improve their political coverage. “This tool will help media outlets provide accurate, impartial analysis of campaign speeches across North Carolina,” she said.

“Campaign Hound makes information about government more accessible, giving citizens and others the opportunity to play a more active role in our democracy,” said John Bracken, Knight Foundation vice president for media innovation.

In addition to Clark and Peach, the winning team includes UNC-Chapel Hill associate professors Steven King and Ryan Thornburg and assistant professor Tori Ekstrand, who will serve as consultants on the project.

Campaign Hound is a sister project of Capitol Hound, a searchable transcription and keyword alerts system for North Carolina General Assembly sessions. Capitol Hound is available at capitolhound.org.

“The Reese News Lab provides students with innovative and entrepreneurial media experiences, and it is already having an impact on industry,” said Susan King, dean of the UNC School of Media and Journalism. “It is a tribute to our alumnus, Reese Felts, who made the lab possible, and it is a tribute to the Knight Foundation’s innovative strategy for moving journalism forward.”

The Reese News Lab is an experimental media and research project at the School of Media and Journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. www.knightfoundation.org

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One comment on “Reese News Lab wins Knight News Challenge

  1. Phil says:

    Congratulations, Sara! Sounds like a great project. Our politicos will have to be very careful what they say, now that everybody can listen remotely. Wonder what a wordle from the governor looks like?

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