2015 Walkley Innovation Grants Long List

March 13, 2015

2015 Walkley Grants for Innovation in Journalism – long list announced

Publishing platforms, marketplaces for producers and freelancers, and dynamic storytelling projects about refugees are among the standout proposals for the second year of the Walkley Grants for Innovation in Journalism. The Walkley Foundation is proud to announce a long list of 20 projects which will go on to compete for $70,000 in seed funding for innovative media projects.

A panel of four judges from Australia and the US, representing experience in media, entrepreneurialism and innovation, met last week to select their top contenders from more than 100 applications. The judges are:

  • James Kirby, managing editor of Eureka Report
  • Ramin Marzbani, leading technology, internet and financial services analyst
  • Jigar Mehta, digital entrepreneur and current head of engagement at AJ+
  • Jacqui Park, executive director of the Walkley Foundation

In his second year of judging the grants, James Kirby said the program will continue to build momentum as it encourages a community of media innovators around Australia.

“This search for innovators and new start-ups in media is getting bigger every year,” said Kirby. “Pretty soon we’ll have a string of projects financed by the grants… all working in tandem to create new opportunities. We’re delighted with the scale and scope of this latest batch of entries.”

All four judges agreed that the standard of applications was incredibly high, making their decision very difficult.

“Technological innovation in journalism continues to shape this important landscape, and the level of innovation for the second year in a row is on par with the best in the world,” said judge Ramin Marzbani. “The focused support for innovation by the Walkley Foundation has drawn out a broad range of proposals for innovation, too many of which are deserving of support.”

Congratulations to the long-listed projects:

  • Yaara Bou Melhem, “UrStories”: A voter-based story initiative where the public decides which stories they want covered and take part in the storytelling process.
  • Karina Brindley & team, “Elevate Business Leaders Forum”: A platform for regional business leaders to share their business journey in a digital story format.
  • Giordana Caputo & Nicola Joseph, “Producers’ Marketplace”: An online marketplace for independent content makers to showcase and distribute their content, obtain peer and audience reviews, and network with stations/media outlets/community organisations and arts organisations seeking innovative content to publish or broadcast.
  • Chart Collective team, “Chart Collective”: An online multimedia platform that plots stories of place and environment on an interactive Australian map, featuring content from a range of locations, disciplines and communities.
  • Jay Cooper, Nick Cooper & Veronica Ridge, “ISSIMO.IO”: A sophisticated yet simple digital platform that enables journalists without technical or marketing skills to edit and publish a viable digital publication.
  • Eve Fisher, “Student News Online”: An educational, online publishing platform for schools to create student-run newspapers, with students learning the fundamentals, best practices and technological aspects of online journalism.
  • Charlotte Harper, “Editia”: Editia will work with journalists to publish expanded versions of their in-depth feature articles as standalone publications in ebook form or via print on demand.
  • Nicola Harvey & Naima Lynch, “The Foundry Network”: A transmedia production network and freelance marketplace aiming to leverage the power of technology to enrich Australian journalistic visual storytelling for media organisations.
  • Andrew Hunter, Hal Crawford & Dom Filipovic, “Like-a-lytics”: A new proprietary social analytics service for journalists across Australia and the world showing trending news stories using data from Share Wars’ Likeable Engine.
  • Kristofor Lawson, “Coporter”: A story and contact management application that allows reporters to keep track of their story data, notes and sources securely in the cloud.
  • Que Minh Luu & Gabriel Clark, “Radio with Pictures”: A multimedia collision of radio feature making and comic books journalism, produced for an online platform.
  • Rose Powell, “News crawler”: An automated news crawler.
  • Courtney Sanders & Laura-Jade Harries, “MyCatalogue”: A fashion and culture content platform, monetised via a state-of-the-art e-commerce affiliate program that supports local, independent fashion designers.
  • Bonnie Shaw & FYA team, “Make it Mobile”: A digital platform and weekly Multimedia Text Messaging Service (MTMS) with all content created by young journalists, for young people.
  • Smart Company team (Cara Waters, Eloise Keating & Kirsten Robb), “From Refugee to entrepreneur”: An interactive data-driven multimedia site telling the story of the refugees behind Australia’s small businesses through maps, photographs, timelines, videos and text.
  • Melissa Sweet & the Croakey team, “Croakey”:  Transforming the Croakey blog into a global leader in innovative health journalism, improving its capacity to provide a public service and to contribute to informed, engaged debate and healthy democracy.
  • Sue Swinburne, Dr John Shearer & Dr Patrick Dickinson, “Droplet”: A geo-located, innovative story sharing app enabling users to consume as well as ‘drop’ their own short, engaging and provocative audio anecdotes via their mobile phones.
  • Alexandra Wake & Barbara Heggen, “Hyper Local Cinema”: Harking back to the news reels of the past, we plan to create hyperlocal news stories to show in independent cinemas, starting with a pilot at The Sun, in Yarraville, Melbourne.
  • Bev Wilkinson, Jeana Wong & Melissa Haber, “Celebrate Living History”: An internship program offering journalism students the opportunity to document stories for their portfolio and develop interviewing skills with older generations.
  • Judy Wilkinson, “AustraliaMEDIAfirst.com”: A recruitment website to link overseas companies with Australian freelance journalists, designers and photographers.

These 20 projects will go on to attend a development workshop, and will compete for a pool of $70,000 in seed funding from program partners Google Australia and Copyright Agency Limited’s Cultural Fund.

The Walkley Foundation are also proud to announce that the development program will include support from new legal partners, General Standards Startup Lawyers.

US-based judge Jigar Mehta said the grants program’s value is in creating community.

“The Walkey Foundation has a commitment towards supporting a culture of innovation in journalism that is critical towards creating an authentic community in this space which is reflected in the quality of applications in this round of the innovation grant,” said Mehta.

The Walkley Foundation aims to celebrate and encourage great Australian journalism, telling the stories of our nation and strengthening our democracy. This new grants program is central to the Walkleys’ mission to encourage and support innovation in the Australian media. Executive Director Jacqui Park said the response to the grants continues to be a testament to the talent of Australian journalists.

“It’s time we saw more journalists in the driver’s seat of innovation in Australia, and we look forward to helping these promising entrepreneurs connect with a supporting community and the resources they need to succeed.”

For more information, contact Clare Fletcher.

About our judges:

James Kirby is one of Australia’s most experienced financial journalists. He is managing editor of online investment site Eureka Report and a columnist with The Weekend Australian. He was a co-founder and shareholder in Australian Independent Business Media – publisher of Business Spectator and Eureka Report – which was taken over by News Ltd in 2012.

Ramin Marzbani is an independent board director and technology investor.  He has specialised in the painful sector of seed and start-up funding in Australian technology.  In his previous lives, he was involved with IBM, Booz-Allen and www.consult (ACNielsen).  He serves on the Smart Services CRC board, and he previously served on the Telstra Broadband Fund board and various advisory boards such as Lazard Asia Pacific Asset Management.  He has an MBA from AGSM and a BE from UNSW.

Jigar Mehta is a digital entrepreneur, documentary filmmaker and journalist. He works at the intersection of media, technology and innovation. Jigar is currently the head of Engagement at AJ+, a recently launched digital-only news channel, headquartered in San Francisco, California. He is a founding team member of Matter Ventures, a start-up accelerator and early stage venture capital firm that supports and invests in media entrepreneurs building ventures that make society more informed, connected, and empowered. Prior to joining Matter, he co-founded Groupstream, a collaborative storytelling platform. It is a startup that grew out of the acclaimed web native documentary project, 18 Days in Egypt, Mehta was a 2010 John S. Knight Fellow at Stanford University. Before Stanford, Mehta was a reporter and video journalist for The New York Times. Mehta has a Masters in Journalism and Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.

Jacqui Park is executive director of the Walkley Foundation. Working with the Walkley board, Jacqui sets the strategic direction of the Walkley Foundation, identifying new programs and relationships to support its aims.  She oversees the Walkley innovation program and is program director for the flagship Storyology summit. She is also the founding editor of The Walkley Magazine: Inside the Media in Australia and New Zealand.