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New Knight-Batten Awards to Honor Journalism Innovations

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Innovations that help people use media to get quality news and information in new ways will be honored this year by the renamed Knight-Batten Awards for Innovations in Journalism.

The awards program at the University of Maryland recognizes the creative use of new ideas that help people use news and information to become active citizens and members of their communities.

A Wild Card prize of $1,000 has been added to the $10,000 Grand Prize and $5,000 Special Distinction winners. The Wild Card award will honor an emerging idea that may not be fully developed but deserves a megaphone beside the top winners.

Deadline for entries is June 15, 2006.

The award program is supported by a new three-year grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which this year added its name to the awards to help stimulate new thinking as evolving technologies present journalists with fresh challenges and new opportunities.

“The Knight-Batten Awards highlight the ideas that help people use media to solve problems, improve their lives and connect with others,” said Gary Kebbel, Knight Journalism Program initiatives officer.

The Knight-Batten Awards are administered by J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism at the University of Maryland. Previously known as the Batten Awards, they also pay tribute to the late James K. Batten, former CEO of Knight Ridder and a pioneer in exploring ways journalists could better connect with community life.

This year’s competition covers new ideas launched between May 1, 2005, and June 12, 2006. See guidelines and an entry form at

The winners will be honored at a fall symposium in Washington, D.C. Their ideas, as well as good ideas from other notable entries, are posted and shared through J-Lab’s Web site.

An Advisory Board led by Bryan Monroe, Assistant Vice President – News, Knight Ridder, will judge the awards. Board members include Jody Brannon, Executive Producer, News,; Mark Hinojosa, Associate Managing Editor-Electronic News, The Chicago Tribune; Jim Brady, Executive Editor,; Lee Rainie, Executive Director, Pew Internet & American Life Project; Rosental C. Alves, Director, Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas; Chris Harvey, Online Bureau Director & Lecturer, Philip Merrill College of Journalism; Tom Kunkel, Dean, Philip Merrill College of Journalism; and Jan Schaffer, J-Lab Executive Director.

The Knight Foundation promotes excellence in journalism worldwide and invests in the vitality of 26 U.S. communities.

J-Lab helps news organizations and citizens use new media technologies to create fresh ways for people to participate in public life.

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