Geographically organized breaking news video aggregation, natural-disaster community Web portals, and a secure service for sensitive reporter-source contact are some of the projects that just won more than $300,000 apiece to aid their development.

The funds are from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s Knight News Challenge, which announced Monday afternoon that it awarded more than $1.37 million to six network-based media projects.The winning projects harness existing digital networks to spread information and engage users.

The awards are the first batch of three contest rounds this year.

The second round, on data, is accepting entrants now through June 21. The third contest theme has yet to be announced. This is the first year that the News Challenge, which launched in 2007, is running multiple entry cycles.

The winning projects in this first, network-focused round are Recovers.org, Peepol.tv, signalnoi.se, Watchup, Behavio, and the Tor Project.

Winners were announced at the MIT-Knight Civic Media Conference in Cambridge, MA.

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Kira Goldenberg is an associate editor at CJR. Follow her on Twitter at @kiragoldenberg.