I marvel at that map. OpenNews sponsored 21 hack days around the world during 2012. Mozilla, of course, is an international organization, and that map shows so clearly how international it and the journalism technology community are. And, 2013 is already on track to include events in Africa and in areas of Europe and Asia where OpenNews has not been before.* So, what all do those pins on the map represent?
In the same way that all kids love dinosaurs, I think everyone spends at least some portion of life loving words. Whether it be their commandment power over parents that is more effective than vague crying or the aggressive quality when wielded against classmates or the way a well-written assignment could earn the admiration of teachers or the transporting power of a psychedelic school bus.
As Mitchell Baker put it in her Mozilla Festival keynote, "imagine if you had to ask permission every time you wanted to write something on a piece of paper." The liberating power of writing is what gets a lot of people into journalism and into programming. A pen and a pad. A keyboard and a command line. Simple items that hold power to inform, engage, motivate.
Baker was referring to the work Mozilla is doing to open up mobile, but that concept is also applicable to the work of OpenNews. Throughout the Festival, some of the brightest folks in the journalism-technology community showed the possibilities for journalism when you have the skills to analyze, develop, and report, without needing to ask permission.
Journalism at MozFest by the numbers:
This year there's a new feature at the Online News Association conference, The Midway. After people took to the halls last year to have unconference sessions, ONA organizers decided to create a space for discussion and learning about new projects. At 2:15 p.m. on Friday, I will be there to chat about the just-announced Code Sprints and OpenNews generally, including the big news of an official launch date for Source: October 16!
This week, in the midst of Olympics excitement, The Guardian and BBC described what it's like to host a Knight-Mozilla OpenNews fellow and encouraged you to apply to join them or one of six other news organizations as a 2013 Knight-Mozilla Fellow.
The Guardian posted a video featuring current fellow Nicola Hughes talking about what it's been like working on the Guardian's interactive team. At the BBC, there will be major changes in 2013 and Andrew Leimdorfer detailed how their Knight-Mozilla Fellow will be involved.