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Web Development Fund Round 2
For immediate release
Contact: Suzanne Seggerman (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Seeks New Proposals for Innovation on the Web
NEW YORK, NY, August 11, 1998. -- After providing more than $150,000 to 8 projects in its first round of funding, Web Lab announced today it is seeking new proposals for its Web Development Fund (WDF). WDF2 aims to be a catalyst for projects that make imaginative use of the Web -- especially its capabilities as an interactive, participatory medium -- to explore both personal and public issues in original ways.
Guidelines, which have been extensively re-written since last year, are available online at: http://www.WebLab.org with a September 13, 1998 deadline for proposals.
In the first round, WDF received 519 proposals and provided "full funding" for 4 projects and "development funding" for 4 projects. WDF also provided selected projects with guidance, technical support, and design services. So far, two sites supported by WDF1 have been launched in association with PBS Online: Working Stiff (www.pbs.org/weblab/workingstiff), which Newsweek called "an edgy resource...where workers of the world can gripe and unite;" and Living with Suicide (www.pbs.org/weblab/living) which Austin Bunn of Feed called "a gripping experiment in public catharsis" in the Village Voice.
For Round 2, "full funding" will provide WDF support for full development and launch of a site, and, generally, maintenance for up to 12 months. In most cases, WDF cash support will not exceed $25,000, but it may run as high as $50,000 in cash and services for one or two particularly exciting projects.
"Development funding," generally limited to $10,000 per project, supports the creation of prototypes and other "proofs of concept." Web Lab holds additional funds in reserve to move some development projects to "full funding" status after "deliverables" have been reviewed.
In either category, Web Lab's contribution must represent no more than 50 percent of the total cost of the project, though the remainder can be in in-kind (non-cash) contributions, such as the site producer's donated time.
Web Lab is making a splash in the online world. Wired News recently called it "an innovation designed to spark innovation." And it has attracted support from prominent new media thinkers and doers, including Nicholas Negroponte, director of the MIT Media Lab, Steven Johnson, editor of the Web 'zine Feed, Aliza Sherman, founder of Cybergrrl, Tom Watson, editor of the online new media newsletter @NY, Charles Nesson, director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, and Chris Varley, executive producer of AT&T WorldNet.
Marc N. Weiss, founder and executive producer of Web Lab, said "As the number of people using the Internet continues to grow exponentially, there are also more people looking for more than information, entertainment or merchandise -- they're looking for ways of connecting to other people, to new ideas, and to new experiences on the Web. Between the major commercial sites and the earnest personal home pages, there is a great open space for public discourse and discovery. We hope to collaborate with people in filling that space."
"We're eager to support a range of ideas and approaches," said Weiss. "We want to encourage both veteran Web producers and those just entering the field to think about new ways of using the powerful tools that are being developed. Although we've supported some projects that use complex proprietary technology, and will probably continue to do so, we're also very interested in receiving proposals that use simpler, widely available tools in more creative ways."
The WDF Editorial Committee for Round 2 will be announced in the fall. The committee that advised on the final selection of projects for Round 1 included:
Red Burns, Chair, Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP), NYU
Glorianna Davenport, Director, Interactive Cinema, MIT Media Laboratory
Stacy Horn, Founder and President, Echo
Cindy Johanson, Vice President, PBS Online
Joan Konner, publisher, Columbia Journalism Review; Dean Emerita, Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University
Adam Clayton Powell 3rd, VP, Technology and Programs, The Freedom Forum
Jai Singh, Executive Editor, news.com (part of C/NET)
Maria Wilhelm, former President, The Well
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