Glen Nelson Center at American Public Media Group (APMG) recently launched the Next Challenge for Media and Journalism, a national competition seeking groundbreaking startups and student-led ventures that will reinvent media over the coming decade.

APMG is hosting the competition in partnership with WarnerMedia, Google News Initiative, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Lenfest Institute for Journalism, Klein College of Media and Communication at Temple University, and the Carlson Family Foundation. APM's Marketplace is the national promotional partner and Davis Wright Tremaine LLP is providing legal service.

Entries are open at and will be accepted through November 7, 2021.

"The Next Challenge is our opportunity to see the future of media," said Jeff Freeland Nelson, executive director of Glen Nelson Center. "Our goal is to find the most promising media startups and support talented and diverse entrepreneurs anywhere in the country."

Over 20 weeks and numerous digital events, the Next Challenge will showcase both for-profit and nonprofit early-stage media startups based in the United States in four divisions:

  • News & Information Division supported by Google News Initiative: startups that provide access to accurate news, increase media literacy and break down barriers between communities and factual information.
  • Civic Engagement Division supported by Knight Foundation: startups that bridge diverse and disparate communities, promote honest civil discourse and give audiences new tools to gain insight from others.
  • Distribution Channels Division supported by WarnerMedia: startups creating new digital platforms, revolutionizing the way media content is delivered across the country and around the globe. 
  • Student Ventures Division supported by Temple University/Lenfest Institute: student-led news & information, civic engagement or distribution channel ventures

The Next Challenge is committed to promoting equity in media, embracing the demographic shift occurring in communities across the country and investing in startups with diverse teams. One goal of the competition is that 51% or more of judges, mentors and first-round applicants identify as BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and/or female.

"It's up to all of us to support media startups revolutionizing the way content is made and distributed," said Axel Caballero, vice president of artistic and cultural innovations at WarnerMedia. "We are excited to partner with American Public Media Group to discover what's next in media."

"Civic engagement is vital for a vibrant democracy," said Jai Winston, Knight Foundation's program director for St. Paul. "We're thrilled to partner with APMG to support talented entrepreneurs and students who have great ideas on how tech and innovation can help serve as tools to better connect people to their community and each other."

Up to 40 division finalists will be paired with industry mentors to help hone their business plan and prepare for the final rounds of the competition. The Next Challenge will conclude with a national showcase event in February of 2022, where more than $100,000 in cash grants and other benefits will be awarded to winning companies.

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About the Glen Nelson Center

Launched in 2018, Glen Nelson Center at American Public Media Group identifies, elevates, and invests in groundbreaking media ventures led by a diverse group of visionary founders. Connecting startup founders and teams with APMG staff, advisors, and board members informs strategic planning, supports long-term revenue and audience goals and strengthens the APMG innovation culture. For more information, visit

About American Public Media Group
American Public Media Group (APMG) is the largest station-based public radio organization in the U.S., combining multi-regional station operations, national programming creation and distribution and innovative digital, social and mobile services in one organization. APMG's operations include Minnesota Public Radio® (MPR®), a 46-station network serving nearly all of Minnesota and parts of surrounding states, and Southern California Public Radio, a five-station network serving Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura County, Coachella Valley, Santa Barbara, and the Inland Empire. Programs produced by MPR's national programming division, American Public Media® (APM), reach over 17 million listeners with nearly 1,000 public radio stations and over 400 commercial stations nationwide each week. APM is one of the largest producers and distributors of public radio programming in the world, with a portfolio that includes BBC World Service, Marketplace®, and the leading classical music programming in the nation. APM Studios, a division of APM, also offers a diverse array of podcasts featuring the best in food, culture, entertainment, business and investigative journalism. For more information on APMG, visit