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Groundbreaking Facebook Application to Engage Communities Working Together to Stop Climate Change

More than $25,000 in Eco-friendly Prizes to be Awarded to Social Network Activists

SEATTLE, WA–Seattle-based news aggregator NewsCloud,
today announced the launch of a new Facebook application called “Hot
Dish: Serving up the Hottest Climate News.” With headlines from Grist.org,
the country’s leading online source for environmental news, opinion and
advice, Hot Dish engages users of the world’s most popular social
networking site to share news about climate change, build community
around environmental issues, and demonstrate to peers how everyday
decisions can make a difference. The application is available now at http://www.newscloud.com/hotdish.

“As social networking grows and news readership declines, it is
important to find new ways to engage younger audiences in current
events. We believe Hot Dish is the answer,” says Jeff Reifman,
NewsCloud founder. “Hot Dish is a groundbreaking social media
application that puts what we love about the Facebook community to work
at making the planet cooler.”

The Hot Dish Action Team gives users the opportunity to earn points
for actions, both on- and off-line, that bolster involvement in the
application and show how they are making environmental change. Through
May 3, 2009, Hot Dish is giving away more than $25,000 worth of
eco-friendly prizes to eligible 16-25 year-old users who participate.
Top point earners can win eco-friendly prizes ranging from organic
cotton T-shirts and gift certificates to an Amazon Kindle 2 and new
“green” Apple MacBook computer. Featured prizes include:

  • A Grand Prize trip for two to the Arctic, courtesy of leading polar exploration provider Quark Expeditions
  • Gift baskets featuring fair trade coffee, teas and chocolates from ethical business partnership leader Equal Exchange

University of Minnesota researchers, led by Dr. Christine Greenhow,
will use data gathered from Hot Dish participants in the 16-25 age
group to investigate how to best engage youth in current events and how
the Internet can be used to deliver educational materials in innovative
and effective ways. A second Facebook application focusing on college
students in Minnesota will be launched in April.

“Climate change is
the most important challenge confronting our world today,” says Russ
Walker, Grist.org Executive Editor. “Grist is excited to connect its
large online audience with the energy and enthusiasm young people are
bringing to Facebook. It’s an ideal partnership which we hope can lead
to long term social, behavioral and political change.”

The research is being made possible by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

About NewsCloud
Launched
in 2005, NewsCloud is a community-driven news aggregator and an open
source solutions provider for social media. At the end of the project,
NewsCloud will release the source code to these Facebook applications
via open source license. Visit www.newscloud.com/research for more information.

About Grist.org
With a fresh spin on environmental news and views, Grist.org informs, inspires, and links America’s next generation of green
activists. Founded in April 1999, Grist has developed the most
recognizable voice in environmental journalism: funny, opinionated, and
intelligent. Grist offers in-depth reporting, news analysis, opinions,
and practical advice — all tailored to inform, entertain, provoke, and
encourage its readers to think creatively about environmental problems
and solutions.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation invests in journalism
excellence worldwide and in the vitality of U.S. communities where the
Knight brothers owned newspapers. Since 1950, the foundation has
granted more than $400 million to advance quality journalism and
freedom of expression. Knight Foundation focuses on projects with the
potential to create transformational change. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.