The journalist who led the MP expenses investigation, an iPhone comic and a hyperlocal publishing network are amongst the beneficiaries from £50 million, Channel 4-led innovation fund 4iP‘s latest round of funding, paidContent:UK has learned. The projects are…
— TalkAboutLocal: Civil servant William Perrin‘s plan to train “several thousand” citizens in 150 areas of England to create sites that inform and empower their communities. The biggest recipient, the scheme is receiving over £1 million – half from UK Online Centres (an internet training network through which the scheme will be delivered), with the remaining funds split between 4iP partners Channel 4 and Screen West Midlands.
— Help Me Investigate: Proposed by Heather Brooke (pictured), the journalist who kick-started the drive for disclosure of MPs’ expenses, together with Birmingham journalism lecturer Paul Bradshaw and ex BBC journalist Nick Booth, the site aims to be “a platform for anyone to start or join, organise and pursue questions you think should be investigated”.
— Chromaroma: Developed by Birmingham-based developer house Mudlark, it’s a real-life game that aims to make the journey data on public transport payment cards really public – letting people compete, for example, on who can spend the least time on the tube and most walking from station to station.
— Mapumental: The latest project from the wonderful MySociety civic hackers that brought you TheyWorkForYou, FixMyStreet and, er, the No. 10 Petitions website, Mapumental “helps you build custom maps that help you work out the optimal place to live or work in order to have an easy commute and an affordable home”. But this project, which fits with C4’s online public service aims, is actually hosted together with the broadcaster.
— You Booze, You Lose: It’s an iPhone tool from Dundee developer Digital Goldfish that lets people track their alcohol consumption, showing the effects on weight gain, liver disease and your wallet – just the thing for a society increasingly prone to binge drinking.
4 Innovations for the Public (4iP) launched in October, with £20 million from Channel 4 and the rest from regional media development agencies, to seed-fund mostly small, innovative web projects fostering civic-mindedness. The first handout, which let a Norwich City news site ingest Twitter comments, hasn’t been successful, but investments since have included a five-figure sum in Q&A platform Yoosk and the Audioboo iPhone app, which has exploded in popularity; a portion of the cash allotted only for iPhone proposals has yielded a high number of applications.