KNC12 MOBILE | MEGAPHONE: Giving a voice to the voiceless | Knight News Challenge 2012

One of my entries in the mobile round of the Knight News Challenge.

MEGAPHONE | Giving a voice to the voiceless

1. What is your project? [1 sentence]
Megaphone is a low-bandwidth, anonymous or pseudonymous, private and public group mobile messaging platform that helps people raise their voice.

2. How will your project use mobile tools and approaches? [2 sentences]
Megaphone will use simple text-driven menus and voice messaging in conjunction with mobile encryption and the open Web to help people privately share discussions, and broadcast to the Web if they choose.
The system lets people leave voice messages that can be publicly or privately shared, and geo-mapped as indicated in the video indexed here:

3. Who will use it and why? [1 sentence]
Journalists trying to spread news or find stories that would otherwise not come to light, and ordinary citizens building a culture of openness.

4. Please list three ways they would learn about your project.
Journalists will learn about Megaphone through:
– established journalist networks, such as the Forum for African Investigative Reporters, Global Investigative Journalism Network, Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Online News Association, WJChat , journalism schools and alumni associations; digital/social media such as Twitter and Facebook
The public would learn about it from journalists, peers, NGOs and any news channels available to them, online or off.

5. What connections have you made, or will you make, with others [communities, organizations or networks] about your project? [2 sentences]
I have worked with the Social Innovation Group at the MaRS Centre in Toronto, MaRS FutureLab and colleagues from the Canadian Film Centre MediaLab on this project. The SIG has offered consulting and research support, but further outreach is necessary to journalist groups identified above.

6. What part of the project have you already built? [1-2 sentences, feel free to include links]
We have completed the prototype design and are seeking avenues to move to the system development phase.

7. What does success for your project look like? [1-2 sentences]
Success would be enabling journalists to find and share stories that may be difficult, dangerous or impossible to surface and share with the world, and to help people in repressive regimes practise using their voice and fostering a culture of openness.

8. What resources do you need to succeed? [1-2 sentences]
We need digital security, mobile software and distributed network expertise, especially for developing countries.

Additional details:
Please list who is on your team:
Saleem Khan: Project leader, journalist [editor and reporter, ex- CBC, Metro International, Toronto Star newspapers; chairman/director, Canadian Association of Journalists]; advisor, University of Toronto ThingTank Lab [Faculty of Information]; program director, Innovate News.

D. Buie, digital strategist; resident, Canadian Film Centre Media Lab
B. Chmielewski, co-founder, Sweet Caesar; Android, iOS, BlackBerry developer for clients and projects such as U2, Toronto International Film Festival, IDEO, RIM.
K. Khan: User experience strategist and designer for Global 1000, telecom, consumer technology, finance, governments; OCAD University sLab advisor; leader of UXI, Canada’s largest UX professional group.
H. Leson: Director of community engagement, Ushahidi; open source community developer, library and information technician.
M. Saniga, CA: Co-founder, near-realtime business intelligence/data insight generation software firm Quant Inc.; former finance director and manager at Cara, Dell.

Expected number of months to complete project: 9
Estimated Project Cost: $197,000
Name: Saleem Khan
Twitter: @saleemkhan
Email address:
Organization [if applicable]: / Technovica
City: Toronto
Country: Canada
How did you learn about the contest?
I follow the News Challenge and have submitted proposals for years.

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