Knight Foundation grant

Written by Adrian Holovaty on May 23, 2007

I'm thrilled to announce some huge news: I've been awarded a grant by the Knight Foundation, as part of the Knight News Challenge program.

I'll be founding a Web startup, EveryBlock, that focuses on making local news and information useful. I've been feeling the entrepreneurial itch for a while and can't wait to start hacking on this with a crack team of Web developers. Expect to hear much more about this from me, including job ads.

The sad part of all this is that I'm leaving my job at washingtonpost.com. I've had a fantastic time there and recommend it wholeheartedly as a place to work. They gave me an incredible amount of freedom and a chance to work on substantial, meaningful projects with brilliant people. Washingtonpost.com is the best mainstream news Web site, with equal attention devoted to preserving quality journalism and inventing new forms thereof. I'm grateful, proud and honored to have been associated with it.

Now, it's time to start a new chapter.

Comments

Posted by Jeff Croft on May 23, 2007 at 12:12 p.m.:

Congrats, man. Awesome news! Can't wait to see what comes of it. You know who to talk to if you need design help. :)

Posted by Jake P on May 23, 2007 at 12:26 p.m.:

congrats. Can't wait to see what you have cooked up for EveryBlock.

Posted by Ryan Tate on May 23, 2007 at 12:41 p.m.:

Kudos Adrian! Big loss for the Post, but an exciting move for you.

Posted by Walker Hamilton on May 23, 2007 at 12:49 p.m.:

Woooo!! That's so unbelievably cool!

Posted by tsal on May 23, 2007 at 1:04 p.m.:

Congrats! I guess this means you're no longer hiring people to work with ya at WaPo, eh? :)

Keep us up to date on the EveryBlock stuff. It definitely looks interesting.

Posted by Andy Baio on May 23, 2007 at 1:05 p.m.:

Wow, that IS big news. Congratulations, and I'm very curious to see what you come up with.

Posted by Niall Kennedy on May 23, 2007 at 1:18 p.m.:

Exciting news! Always nice to step out to funding on day 1.

Posted by Frank Wiles on May 23, 2007 at 1:29 p.m.:

Congrats Adrian! The "Knight Foundation" eh? Does that mean you get to drive KITT?

Posted by Chris McAvoy on May 23, 2007 at 1:35 p.m.:

Great news man...congratulations!

Posted by Baxter on May 23, 2007 at 1:51 p.m.:

Congrats. Couldn't have happened to a more worthy guy. Best of luck with your new endeavor (although I doubt you'll need luck).

Posted by Will Sullivan on May 23, 2007 at 2:57 p.m.:

Woot woot. Congrats, Adrian!

Posted by Anil on May 23, 2007 at 3:39 p.m.:

Congrats on the new gig! Can't wait to see what you come up with.

Posted by Ryan Pitts on May 23, 2007 at 3:39 p.m.:

Wow! Congratulations, and I can't wait to see where you take this.

Posted by Brian on May 23, 2007 at 3:42 p.m.:

Congrats, Adrian! It sounds like a great project.

Posted by Nathan Borror on May 23, 2007 at 3:43 p.m.:

Congratulations man, can't wait to see what you guys do.

Posted by Steven King on May 23, 2007 at 3:55 p.m.:

WOW! Thats great to hear! Make it great and I know you will.

Posted by alan taylor on May 23, 2007 at 3:56 p.m.:

Really great - amazing. I had no idea there was a grant program like that. Excellent. Best of luck!

Posted by Ken Sands on May 23, 2007 at 4:05 p.m.:

Fantastic opportunity. I can't wait to see what you develop. Too bad you have to leave the MSM behind. We need more people like you, and hopefully Rich Gordon at NU will find them and train them!

Posted by Patrick Beeson on May 23, 2007 at 4:33 p.m.:

Congrats are definitely in order!

I'll be with the throngs of other folks drooling over what you'll develop next.

Posted by Robin on May 23, 2007 at 4:38 p.m.:

Adrian, awesome! That is so exciting.

Posted by Fitz on May 23, 2007 at 5:29 p.m.:

Congrats--knock it out of the park!

Posted by ADM on May 23, 2007 at 6:11 p.m.:

congratulations. you have been a huge innovator in the field and you deserve this. good luck.

Posted by David on May 23, 2007 at 6:12 p.m.:

Big congrats!

Posted by Matt on May 23, 2007 at 6:26 p.m.:

Awesome. So do I get to buy Holovaty stock yet?? I'm getting impatient over here.

Posted by Mark Hartnett on May 23, 2007 at 6:29 p.m.:

Sounds like an exciting project. Is this going to be a for-profit venture? Just wondering whether the newspapers in the cities where EverBlock opens up shop should be excited, a tad terrified or totally terrified.

Posted by C8E on May 23, 2007 at 6:41 p.m.:

W00t!

Great news, Adrian, congrats!

Posted by Jannis Leidel on May 23, 2007 at 7:15 p.m.:

great to hear you stay on the mighty path of innovation. congrats!

Posted by Lach on May 23, 2007 at 7:20 p.m.:

Congratulations, Adrian. I can't wait to see what you're cooking up.

Posted by Russell Keith-Magee on May 23, 2007 at 7:39 p.m.:

Congratulations on the grant! EveryBlock sounds like an interesting project. All the best getting it off the ground.

Posted by Jonathan Buchanan on May 23, 2007 at 8:21 p.m.:

Congratulations, Adrian! In a startling display of comment-based originality, I can't wait to see where you're going with EveryBlock.

Posted by Joe Murphy on May 23, 2007 at 8:43 p.m.:

woot 31st.

Big ups, Adrian. And out of curiosity, how much of that $1.1 million do you plan on paying yourself?

Posted by Andrew on May 23, 2007 at 8:54 p.m.:

Wow, congratulations, Adrian! Look forward to hearing more about EveryBlock.

Posted by Ned Batchelder on May 23, 2007 at 9:13 p.m.:

Best wishes and all good luck, Adrian! You're like Johnny Appleseed, spreading Django wherever you go...

Posted by Michael Trier on May 23, 2007 at 9:25 p.m.:

Congratulations Adrian. I'll be watching this closely. Something near and dear to me as well.

Posted by Mindy McAdams on May 23, 2007 at 11:30 p.m.:

Awesome news, Adrian! Hearty congratulations!

Posted by tom sherman on May 24, 2007 at 12:02 a.m.:

Congrats, Adrian. Can't think of a more deserving winner.

Posted by John Bowman on May 24, 2007 at 8:52 a.m.:

Congratulations. Your projects at the Post have been inspiring. And I just installed Django on my home Linux box yesterday. It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. ;-)

Posted by Paul Conley on May 24, 2007 at 9:42 a.m.:

Congratulations Adrian! I'm looking forward to seeing what you do with EveryBlock.

Posted by David Johnson on May 24, 2007 at 10:13 a.m.:

congratulations, adrian! knock 'm dead!

Posted by Rick Klau on May 24, 2007 at 10:41 a.m.:

Adrian - Thrilled to hear this news. Congrats - it's well-deserved, and I can't wait to see what comes next.

Posted by Eugene Chan on May 24, 2007 at 10:56 a.m.:

Congratulations! Great news and very well deserved.

Posted by Andisheh Nouraee on May 24, 2007 at 11:02 a.m.:

That's amazing news. It's well-deserved.

Posted by Bob Segall on May 24, 2007 at 11:22 a.m.:

Congrats, Adrian. Looking forward to seeing your impact on websites around the industry!

Posted by Steve Klein on May 24, 2007 at 11:38 a.m.:

Congratulations, Adrian. You've certainly earned it. And I doubt it will escape Rich Gordon's attention that as he creates a program with HIS Knight Grant to discover and train NEW Adrian Holovaty's, the real one is right there in town!

Posted by Suzanne Struglinski on May 24, 2007 at 11:48 a.m.:

you continue to amaze me with your achievements....i can say I knew you when!

Posted by Rhonda McBride on May 24, 2007 at 11:50 a.m.:

Adrian...

What exciting news! I can't wait to see what wizardry you wow us with next.

Congrats & Good Luck!

Rhonda

Posted by Mary Specht on May 24, 2007 at 1:24 p.m.:

Congrats, Adrian! I can't wait for EveryBlock.

Posted by Dan Froomkin on May 24, 2007 at 1:30 p.m.:

Congrats, Adrian. I just hope you'll work with some local papers!

As I wrote way, way back (in May, 2004) for the Online Journalism Review:

"The time has come for online newspapers to embrace online community-building as a geographical phenomenon. The tools are there, waiting to be exploited by smart, reliable, journalists rooted in their communities.

"The most compelling attraction for local users, of course, is something that only local newspapers have: extensive, accurate, very local information. Supplement that with genuine local voices, and you've got a lock on the market.

"And yet, there's a significant way in which newspapers have hamstrung online's ability to leverage the value of their local content. The data -- stories, listings, ads, etc. -- are not geocoded.

"Newspapers should start appending metadata code reflecting geographic location (ideally, street address and/or longitude and latitude, but at the very least city and ZIP code) to absolutely everything.

"Ten years ago, many of us envisioned online newspapers creating a virtual view of the real world -- online. Sadly, we've made almost no progress, because the first requirement is geocoding. Sure, this may require a moment of attention at the time of content creation and some technological improvements, but with geocodes we can give our readers a slice of our incredibly deep and unique content based on their very specific location.

"Imagine knowing readers' locations and then being able to then show them the news stories, big and small, taking place around them and offer them information about schools, crime, restaurants, activities, homes for rent or sale, sales at stores, zoning decisions, swim meets and volunteer activities all near them -- and much more. Depending on how deep your data is, you could create a virtual representation of every street in your circulation area.

"That would be enormously valuable today, but it will become even more important in an era of ubiquitous wireless access and GPS. Someone is inevitably going to make a lot of money letting people know what's going on around them, based on their location. So who's it going to be?"

I guess the answer is, it's going to be you!

Posted by Ben Smith on May 24, 2007 at 2:40 p.m.:

Wow. Congrats.

Posted by Juan Varela on May 24, 2007 at 3:28 p.m.:

Congratulations, Adrian, it´s the time for a new journalist.

Posted by Andrea Useem on May 24, 2007 at 3:30 p.m.:

Good luck. I hope you can succeed where BackFence failed.

Andrea Useem

Posted by Greg Elin on May 24, 2007 at 3:45 p.m.:

Adrian,

Congratulations. We love the idea of hyper-local data here at Sunlight as a pathway for people to understand how things (often) connect with Congress.

Posted by Eric Wallace on May 24, 2007 at 3:52 p.m.:

Congrats Adrian! I look forward to seeing your work. I have a lot of ideas that I am toying with regarding local media maybe we can discuss them sometime?

Posted by Jay Small on May 24, 2007 at 4:38 p.m.:

Does this mean more, or fewer, YouTube guitar videos? :-)

Congratulations. This is thoroughly deserved.

Posted by Anna Cicognani on May 24, 2007 at 7:07 p.m.:

Congratulations from down-under. Looking forward to meeting you.

Posted by Tim Klimowicz on May 24, 2007 at 7:38 p.m.:

Congrats, man! Saw you speak at Columbia a bunch of weeks back. Thanks, can't wait to see what's next!

Posted by teeberg on May 24, 2007 at 7:40 p.m.:

Wow -- excellent! We few new media types at Columbia j-school so enjoyed your visit (and sneak-peek chat), and wish a hearty congratulations!!

Posted by Greg on May 24, 2007 at 11:52 p.m.:

Congrats on such a great new adventure. I've been following your work for a few years as a fellow GWU employee told me about you. We actually talked once on the phone and you shared some good ideas with me about university Web sites. I now work in local government and I'm very eager to watch where you take this project...and to see which side of my brain -- government Web guy or BA and MA journalism guy -- enjoys this project the most.

Posted by Tim on May 25, 2007 at 3:19 a.m.:

Congratulations! I was just singing your praises the other day at a gathering of citizen journalists -- I will be eager to see what you develop.

Posted by Maurreen Skowran on May 25, 2007 at 9:18 a.m.:

This is an excellent idea. Good luck.

Posted by Mark Friesen on May 25, 2007 at 9:25 a.m.:

Huzzah!

Posted by Rick Burnes on May 25, 2007 at 10:23 a.m.:

Well done. It's fantastic to hear you're taking the plunge.

Whatever happens (and I'm sure the things that happen will be good), I think you'll enjoy the freedom and the challenges. We certainly have.

Posted by Oliver on May 25, 2007 at 10:57 a.m.:

Well done, man! Best of luck!

Posted by Dean Royal on May 25, 2007 at 4:53 p.m.:

Congrats, friend! I have no doubt you'll pull off something quite unique, as usual.

Posted by Rajiv Pant on May 25, 2007 at 7:02 p.m.:

Congratulations, Adrian,

Wish you all the best.

-- Rajiv

Posted by John Handelaar on May 25, 2007 at 10:03 p.m.:

Kewl. Do you get a nice black talking car? Or is that for the other guy?

Posted by Kelvin Nicholson on May 26, 2007 at 5 a.m.:

After glancing at the above [long] list of comments, your "new chapter" will certainly have many readers. All the best!

Posted by Rob on May 26, 2007 at 12:12 p.m.:

WOW, I just got back and saw the news......congratulations!

Posted by Victor on May 26, 2007 at 10:49 p.m.:

Well done!

And they say "crime doesn't pay."

Posted by Hooshyar Naraghi on May 27, 2007 at 4:48 a.m.:

Big congratulations, Adrian! As a newbie to Django (6 months old now), My team and I love Django. Thank you for your great tool Django. I hope you will fully utilize Django in EveryBlock.

Looking forward to seeing how you will scratch that "entrepreneurial itch" of yours!

Posted by benjamen on May 28, 2007 at 8:42 p.m.:

great news man, can't wait to learn about my block here in nyc..

let me know when you are in town again

ps

loved the talk btw

Posted by Jonathan Andrew Wolter on May 30, 2007 at 11:41 p.m.:

Congratulations!

I realize this is a little late, but I'm really excited to hear this. I'm looking forward to seeing what develops!

-jaw

Posted by Taylor Walsh on June 8, 2007 at 5:14 p.m.:

Great news Adrian. You more than deserve it. And good for the Foundation for putting funding into your work. I will look forward to staying up with EveryBlock.

Posted by Mike Pegg on June 14, 2007 at 6:30 a.m.:

Congrats from Google Maps Mania! :) Good luck with the new project.. Very curious to see it evolve!

Cheers!

Mike.

Posted by Marcus Chan on June 19, 2007 at 1:23 p.m.:

Adrian, this is fantastic (sorry, just catching up to this). And tx again for the programming advice.

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