Again on the fourth Saturday of April, a whole lotta journalists, developers, and "future of news" types will gather at Temple University for BarCamp News Innovation. During one day, people collaborate and gripe in unconference sessions and hack and brainstorm in a hackathon (this year deemed a "start-athon").
Every week, I put together an events listing for Source. All over the world, people organize hack days and conferences and workshops and meetups to discuss, invent, gripe, and marvel at journalism and technology. There are a lot of events. I get to attend some of them. OpenNews sponsors many.
Already this year, OpenNews has sponsored an array of events. Beyond trainings, OpenNews has supported:
The New Year for OpenNews kicked off with an incredible feature on Source about the "Snow Fall" story in the New York Times. It was awesome how Erin Kissane made that story happen in a week that many people (including me) were on vacation. She had it ready to publish on January 1. On top of the kickass story, a great conversation began in the comments. And people just keep commenting. The comments demonstrate so clearly the community that is coalescing around Source and around journalism and code more broadly. My favorite comment came from an educator who talked about ways to use the original story and the Source follow-up in her undergraduate class. It just so perfectly encapsulated what I'm looking forward to with OpenNews for this year: documenting great work, learning together, and supporting this growing community.
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?
Looking back - Hacking 2012 by the numbers
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.