MuckRock one of 18 new Knight Prototype Fund grantees

Those 400,000 pages of documents won’t read themselves

Written by Michael Morisy
Edited by JPat Brown

I’m excited to share that MuckRock is one of 18 new Knight Prototype Fund grantees. Since we started in 2010, you’ve helped us make more than 400,000 pages of government documents public. Now, with this grant, we’re going to build a better way of making those docs useful, relevant, and accessible, while tackling larger and more diverse reporting projects.

Over the past four years, this community of passionate FOIA aficionados — reporters, activists, researchers, as well as citizens who simply want to know more about their democracy —  has shown how powerful a tool public records can be, particularly when the process is made simpler and more transparent.

There’s been over 600 news articles written about documents received through MuckRock, not including our own reporting on everything from prison privatization to government waste to misuse of police technology.

But I don’t think that’s doing enough. Today, it’s too easy to be overwhelmed by the amount of information made available, and often times harder than ever to understand what it means, to find the important pieces in a larger mosaic. So, we’re taking what we’ve learned - from facilitating over 11,000 requests, from our assignment system, from our data on which of those 11,000 requests had the biggest impact - and we’re using that knowledge to build tools that will help analyze not just large documents and data sets received through FOIA, but information from outside the realm of public records entirely, as well as direct contributions from the MuckRock community.

We’re currently in the very early stages, but we’ll be excited to share more as it’s ready. In the meantime, you can read more about the Prototype Fund as well as the 17 other amazing grantees.


Image via Knight Foundation.