Change is awesome — it’s a necessary component to anything remaining vital and a required ingredient to facilitate organic growth. And so it’s with real excitement that today I’m announcing changes to the Knight-Mozilla News Technology Partnership.
Before we get to the changes, some quick background: Conversations around the original partnership began in 2010, with the program launching at the start of 2011. That means that the program design, by necessity, reflected 2010’s problem sets. Two years is an eternity on the Internet — it was time to rethink and retool for today.
The community around code in journalism is vastly different today than in 2010: There are a number of app teams in some of the world’s best news organizations that embrace the “show your work” philosophy of open source; organizations like Hacks/Hackers, NICAR, the Online News Association, and others are embracing the idea of hackfests and code-driven collaboration; and independent developers are starting to become interested in hacking journalism in earnest. These are awesome developments — this community is vital and growing.
The changes to the Knight-Mozilla Partnership for 2012 engage this larger community in meaningful ways:
- We’re helping to sponsor and organize more than a dozen “hackdays” around the world this year. Hackdays are one of the best ways to get developers from all over to experiment with the idea of coding for journalism, and a great way to get some open-source code back into the community.
- We’ll be increasing the opportunities for online learning that address the needs of the high-end developers we want to get interested in journalism, as well as a separate track for journalists who want to start becoming webmakers.
- We’re also developing a stand-alone site, Source, dedicated to shining a spotlight on the vital work going on in the journalism code community through case studies, walkthroughs, tutorials, code snippets, and much more.
- Of course, the biggest element of the partnership, our Knight-Mozilla Fellowships, stays a vital center to the program. And in 2012 it grows — from five year-long fellowships to eight. There are some other changes in store for the fellowships as well — that’ll be a topic for a blog post of its own soon.
These aren’t small changes — they alter what we’re doing in a lot of exciting ways. In fact, they’re big enough that we decided a new name and identity was in order. So the Knight-Mozilla News Technology Partnership, also known as MoJo, is no longer — welcome to Knight-Mozilla OpenNews. A new year starts right now.
A version of this post first appeared here.