I sent an e-mail from a hotel room in Berlin in September of last year, while completely blitzed out from jet lag. In it, I mentioned the idea of putting together a site that could serve as a center-point for a lot of the amazing code being written in the journalism community. The response I got from the couple people I ran the idea by was, “Yeah, that sounds great, but who’s going to do it?”
And now, after many months of building something from nothing, it’s launched: Announcing, Source.
Through feature articles that dig into the specifics of the code and the motivations that behind it, through an index to open code repositories produced by the journo-code community, and an index to that community itself, Source connects the many lines of code that make up journalism today with the people who write them. We’ve built relationships between code, people, and organizations deep into the data models of Source because we know that code is always a reflection of the individuals who create it and that those individuals combine to create a thriving community.
growing code to rethink journalism
Journalism is in a time of massive innovation and reinvention. From data journalism to building news applications, news organizations both big and small are trying things anew. Rethinking the way the world learns about itself is a huge, exciting, and inspiring task. At OpenNews, we’re assisting this lofty goal by helping to strengthen and grow the code and community that is working to build journalism’s future. We do this through our fellowship program, through our sponsorship of hack days, through our code sprint grants, and now through Source.
This wouldn’t have been anywhere near possible without the incredible work of the Source team: Erin Kissane, who I tricked into coming to a conference in Phoenix last December so I could talk her into running this project with me, and Ryan Pitts, whose coding skills and amazing insights didn’t just build a great site, but built the right site. Their work, along with the always-there kick-assery of Erika Owens and the steady server-side hand of Ross Bruniges, has been thrilling to be a part of.
It also wouldn’t have been possible without feedback and ideas from dozens of people in the journo-code community who, over the last 10 months, saw this project as their own. We’re proud to be a part of that community and to bring something like this into it.
Dan Sinker heads up the Knight-Mozilla News Technology Partnership for Mozilla. From 2008 to 2011 he taught in the journalism department at Columbia College Chicago where he focused on entrepreneurial journalism and the mobile web. He is the author of the popular @MayorEmanuel twitter account and is the creator of the election tracker the Chicago Mayoral Scorecard, the mobile storytelling project CellStories, and was the founding editor of the influential underground culture magazine Punk Planet until its closure in 2007. He is the editor of We Owe You Nothing: Punk Planet, the collected interviews and was a 2007-08 Knight Fellow at Stanford University.
A version of this post originally appeared here.