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The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) today announced two innovation challenges will be conducted over the next two years focused on uncovering broadcast news projects that serve the needs of local communities. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is investing $200,000 to support the challenges as part of the PILOT initiative, which advances broadcast technologies and cultivates new media opportunities.

Local broadcasters play a vital role in their communities, delivering news, emergency information and entertainment that viewers and listeners rely on to stay informed and make decisions. According to a 2016 Pew Research Center poll, a majority of U.S. adults often get their news from broadcasters, more than from other platforms. However, young adults are moving to alternative platforms, particularly online, for their news and information, reflecting a change in news consumption habits.

To adapt and meet the information needs of local communities, broadcast news leaders are looking for new ideas. To this end, NAB will officially launch the call for entries for the 2017 PILOT Innovation Challenge at NAB Show, the largest media and entertainment convention in the world, held April 22-27, 2017 in Las Vegas. Participants are encouraged to submit innovative project ideas for local broadcasters. Entries will be accepted through summer 2017.

Projects will be evaluated by a panel of judges from various groups, including local broadcasters, academics, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and other media-related entities. In addition, NAB will use the challenge to build a network of broadcast news innovators and will provide guidance, support and industry exposure to winners of the challenge as they build and test prototypes. NAB will announce the winners of the 2017 PILOT Innovation Challenge in the fall.

“Broadcasters play an important role in helping to close the local news and information gap brought on by the digital disruption of journalism. At the same time in order to stay relevant and better serve the information needs of local communities, broadcasters must evolve and innovate. With the National Association of Broadcasters’ leadership, we hope to uncover ideas to advance this goal, and create a stronger network of broadcast news innovators who care about local issues,” said Jennifer Preston, Knight Foundation vice president for journalism.

“Local broadcasters serve their communities in a variety of ways, and the landscape continues to evolve. Our goal is to inspire and support new ideas for local broadcasters serving those communities. We’re delighted to have Knight Foundation’s support in continuing to push the industry forward with new perspectives, ideas and innovations,” said John Clark, PILOT executive director.

Support for these projects is part of Knight’s efforts to promote digital transformation and innovation in journalism to meet local information needs. Knight has made many investments in this area, including the establishment of the Knight-Temple Table Stakes Project, which brings together respected news organizations to act as testing grounds for new mobile and digital practices.



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