In many ways it’s easier than it’s ever been to learn about and interact with the institutions and communities around us. But there’s a long way to go. How can we make the places we live more awesome through data and technology? How can we make public information more relevant and useful? This is the Knight News Challenge: Open Gov. 
The idea of open government has had a rather winding journey—from the first datasets opened to the public, to apps for reporting potholes, to open systems that track the movement of disease across the world. Dedicated groups of talented people have attempted everything from opening IRS data locked in millions of PDFs to collectively writing legislation online. Some projects have succeeded; many more have failed. But collectively we have more information than ever before about what works, what does not, and what we should try in pursuit of more open and productive interactions between citizens and our governments.
This News Challenge is an opportunity to accelerate promising ideas and trends. Our definition of “open government” is broad, and ranges from small projects within existing structures to ambitious attempts to create entirely new ones. To use an architectural analogy, we’re interested in everything from putting a new coat of paint on the house to razing the house and replacing it with a geodesic dome.
Through this contest, we hope to help extend the spirit of open gov and to catalyze partnerships between hackers, civic innovators, governments, journalists and others. We also want to drive more open government wins in local communities, particularly beyond big cities. And we want to reinforce the idea that the promise of open government cuts across ideological, demographic and geographic lines.
Challenge Start Date: February 12, 2013
Challenge End Date: April 5, 2013