Knight News Challenge: Big Data on a Local Scale

CHCF was a partner in the Knight Foundation's 2013 News Challenge to harness health data for use by policymakers at the local level.

January 2014

In an effort to better harness data to benefit local health policymaking, the California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF) created Big Data on a Local Scale, a prize opened to applicants of the Knight News Challenge: Health.

An initiative of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the 2013 Knight News Challenge sought ideas that harness the power of data and information for the health of communities. The challenge focused on the area of health for the first time, collaborating with CHCF and three other health organizations.

CHCF's award, which bolstered the roughly $2 million that Knight committed to their challenge, was designed to address how to get health data into the hands of city and county officials — and spur them to use the information to improve people's lives.

CHCF's challenge aims to address problems that county supervisors have identified with integrating data into their work. In early 2013, the foundation commissioned interviews with California county supervisors and their staffs to better understand how they use and would like to use data to inform decisionmaking.

The winner of the CHCF Big Data on a Local Scale prize is Solutions Journalism Network, which will receive $122,500 to support its work with news outlets in California and elsewhere to highlight community solutions to health problems.

Solutions Journalism Network, founded by writers of The New York Times "Fixes" column, is one of seven winners of the Knight News Challenge: Health, receiving $180,000 from the Knight Foundation,in addition to the California-focused support from CHCF. The organization will collaborate with at least eight newsrooms around the country and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation to identify "positive deviance" in the health sector — examples of promising community health results grounded in evidence and data.

In addition to CHCF, the Knight Foundation partnered with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Clinton Foundation, and the Health Data Consortium.

More background on California HealthCare Foundation's award is available in "The Data Stops Here" by Andy Krackov, as well as a video on Knight's website.