OpenGov Chicago Meeting: The Knight News Challenge, Mayors Challenge, and WBEZ

If you missed Tuesday’s OpenGov Meeting, the recording is below. Later today, we’ll be putting together a more comprehensive recap of the meeting.

Here’s the meeting minutes.

And here’s my writeup:

On a snowy slushy night in Chicago, civic minded web developers, designers, journalists, and advocates gathered at the Chicago Community Trust to hear about the latest developments of the local civic innovation scene.

You can watch the entire presentation here.

The YouTube video description has been marked at different speakers for your convenience.

First up was Chicago’s Director of Analytics Tom Schenk Jr. who had a number of important announcements.

Chicago named a finalist in the Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayor’s Challenge

The Bloomberg Philanthropies Challenge is a contest where cities submit ideas to compete for a grand prize of $5 million dollars. Chicago’s application to to develop a real time predictive analysis platform.

To help Chicago win this challenge, go to and vote for Chicago.

Project Falcon
Chicago’s Department of Innovation and Technology is also working on Project Falcon. Project Falcon is an API that’s focused on time and place of events. Once this is online, data scientists will have a strong tool for spatial analysis.

Project Batman
Project Batman is the name for the city’s project using the University of Chicago’s 3D Cave2 system for data visualization.

What is CAVE2? This is CAVE2:

The city will be using this tool to explore data in a brand new way.

City now hiring data scientists
Tom also announced that the City of Chicago is hiring a new data scientist to help harness city data into ways that can improve the lives of citizens. (And get to work with CAVE2!)

Knight Lab: Miranda Mulligan and Joe Germuska
Next up, was Miranda Mulligan and Joe Germuska to talk about the Knight Lab at Northwestern University. (You can find their presentation slides here)

The Knight Lab helps to develop tools for journalists such as Timeline, Local Angle, and SoundCite. Joe gave us a primer on open government data and journalism, drawing on his experience at the Chicago Tribune News Apps team and at the Knight Lab.

WBEZ’s Matthew Green gave a short talk about their efforts to improve data journalism and the station featuring data stories. You can see some of their coverage in WBEZ’s new blog Day X Datum.

John Bracken: Knight News Challenge
The Knight News Challenge is a contest where innovative ideas to improve the citizen experience compete for a share of $5 million dollars in grant money.

Currently, the contest in the submission phase which ends March 18th. After the submission phase is the feedback phase. People will be able to applaud and comment on proposals. The Knight Foundation has tapped eight experts (Including our own Dan O’Neil) to give feedback on each proposal. After the feedback phase, authors will then be able to alter their proposals before the judging phase.

You can check out current submission by visiting the challenge website.