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[liberationtech] Knight invests $4 Million in "next-generation community platform" for online news (hopefully more), E-Democracy lessons

Lyre Calliope lyre.calliope at gmail.com
Thu Jun 26 11:23:33 PDT 2014


The Mozilla OpenNews team takes working in the open to heart. Like many 
projects out of the Mozilla Foundation, perhaps the easiest way to get 
involved and build bridges with this initiative is to join the public 
community call that happens every other Wednesday: 
https://wiki.mozilla.org/OpenNews/Calls

Joining their mailing list and irc channel are also great ways to connect. 
https://wiki.mozilla.org/OpenNews

While making the code public and widely available is an aim for this 
project, they'd definitely appreciate more involvement from a wider 
community. It might make sense to recruit an ambassador of sorts with a 
strong mental map of the civic tech/open gov space to participate, ask this 
very question and discover opportunities for collaboration.

Cheers!
Lyre Calliope

http://captaincalliope.net
http://twitter.com/captaincalliope


On Thursday, June 26, 2014 12:32:41 PM UTC-4, Steven Clift wrote:
>
> Any thoughts on how the wider civic tech/open gov community can 
> contribute to this effort? How might we help ensure the code is widely 
> available? 
>
> Having viable online communities tied to our local news sites seems 
> crucial to promote local democracy. 
>
> Steven Clift 
>
>
>
> From: Steven Clift <cl... at e-democracy.org <javascript:>> 
> Date: Thu, Jun 26, 2014 at 9:42 AM 
> Subject: Knight invests $4 Million in "next-generation community 
> platform" for online news (hopefully more), E-Democracy lessons 
> To: newswire <news... at groups.dowire.org <javascript:>>,> 
>
>
> Key links, then commentary, then some excerpts ... 
>
> OpenNews - Building New Communities with the New York Times and the 
> Washington Post: 
>       http://bit.ly/sinkercommentstocommunity 
>
> The Mozilla-New York Times-Washington Post project: Turning comments 
> into community 
>        http://bit.ly/knightcommentstocommunity 
>
> Press release: 
>        http://bit.ly/commentstocommunityknightPR 
>
> Join OpenNew's online group: 
>        http://bit.ly/opennewsonlinegroup 
>
>
> Clift/E-Democracy Comments: 
>
> As a non-profit that started with "community" online twenty years ago, 
> it is AWESOME to see journalism waking up to the potential for real 
> change with online news engagement. 
>
> Connecting people in groups (be it an neighborhood, an interest, a 
> desire to be mixed up ideologically, or to be connected with 
> like-minds) AND then bringing in news for discussion is far more 
> natural. It is what people did around the community well, the luncheon 
> counter, or on Facebook today which each person essentially the center 
> of their own dynamic group. 
>
> R.I.P. "drive by" online news commenting which assumes that each 
> atomized news story works as a center piece for engagement with news 
> and journalism. 
>
> By putting people in communities or groups online in the center, human 
> nature will be embraced. Current online news commenting - about 
> politics, crime, or practically anything - is an embarrassment to our 
> society and nation ... not just a failure of journalism. I can't 
> imagine how you could better design a better system to foster 
> unaccountable, extreme, vitriol that fundamentally drowns out 95% of 
> voices. 
>
> So with the current bar so low, let's hope with $4 million investment 
> will help fix this problem with tools that actually work and limited 
> the loudest voices problem. 
>
> (On the tech side they will probably spend in one month what our 
> scrappy non-profit has been able to invest in the open source 
> GroupServer platform over the nearly 10 years we have used it! Coders 
> note: http://e-democracy.org/groupserver - Let's hope this is new 
> project is fundamentally open source and available for any site 
> wishing to contribute and use it. Perhaps they will add to existing 
> code too and not just re-create the wheel.) 
>
> I invite you to join me on the OpenNews online group where I plan to 
> share some of our insights from building online civic communities that 
> in some neighborhoods reach everyday people and 30% of households. (I 
> am not a rep. for the project, but hope to get more involved.) 
>
>       Join OpenNew's online group:   http://bit.ly/opennewsonlinegroup 
>
> Key to E-Democracy is that our online groups are democratic by design 
> as public spaces (to the extent possible as a non-profit), embracing 
> real names for power and agenda-setting, and engage journalists, 
> elected officials, civil servants, local businesses and more. The 
> resident-only gated-community models threaten the future of "public" 
> engagement with local news if they are not meat with similarly 
> pleasing experience for everyday people. (Meaning many people love 
> neighbor connecting online and if we don't offer a civic 
> engagement/community news friendly option the eye balls, local group 
> purchasing, and ad/sponsor dollars will be heading to Silicon Valley.) 
>
> In Knight's blog post they ask, "But what if we could build a 
> commenting system that gives commenters a real sense of ownership?" 
>
> To that I add - What if the online community system could share real 
> ownership (or benefits) with participants as well as community and 
> news organizations contributing measurable efforts and outreach to 
> make the system work in a region? If done right, this could be an 
> awesome community fundraising engine that inspire "readers" to become 
> participants. 
>
> I've been talking for awhile about the need for a reverse Associated 
> Press style non-profit or online producers coop that inspires 
> community volunteerism to guide and facilitate online groups in local 
> communities (ones that could be connected more to news sites). Many 
> news rooms say they can't afford more paid facilitation and our nation 
> can't afford trashed engagement on news sites either. So, I have ideas 
> on how to fix this ... and create incentives for shared community-wide 
> engagement that invests back in the local community. 
>
> OK, below is the official stuff. 
>
> Cheers, 
> Steven Clift 
> E-Democracy.org - Get similar announcements from: http://dowire.org 
>
>
> From OpenNews: 
> http://bit.ly/sinkercommentstocommunity 
>
> OpenNews - Building New Communities with the New York Times and the 
> Washington Post 
>
> Community is at the core of what we do at Knight-Mozilla 
> OpenNews—helping to build and strengthen the community of people 
> writing code in journalism. And community is a big part of what has 
> made Mozilla successful—the global community of contributors that has 
> helped to build the Firefox web browser. 
>
> Community is also at the core of journalism: whether it’s geographic 
> communities that form the bedrock of local news or the communities of 
> interest that form around subjects as broad as basketball and 
> politics, journalism has always had community at its core. 
>
> Which is why it’s exciting to announce that today, Knight-Mozilla 
> OpenNews, the New York Times, and the Washington Post are joining 
> forces to create a next-generation community platform for journalism. 
> The web offers all sorts of new and exciting ways of engaging with 
> communities far beyond the ubiquitous (and often terrible) comments 
> sections at the bottom of articles. We’re looking forward to writing 
> code together to enable them." 
>
> More: 
> http://bit.ly/sinkercommentstocommunity 
>
>
> Knight's official post: 
> http://bit.ly/knightcommentstocommunity 
>
> The Mozilla-New York Times-Washington Post project: Turning comments 
> into community 
>
>
> "Many readers who comment on articles are valuable to a news 
> organization. They are highly engaged, often knowledgeable about the 
> subject and their comments attract other readers, swelling page views 
> and time-on-page statistics. 
>
> And yet, commenting sections are often some of the worst corners of 
> the Internet. Vicious attacks and even racist and sexist language are 
> routine, whether the commenters are anonymous or not." 
>
> More: 
> http://bit.ly/knightcommentstocommunity 
>
>
>
> Get Involved with OpenNews: 
> http://bit.ly/opennewsgetinvolved 
>
> Also from the notes of the June 25 OpenNews call: 
> http://bit.ly/opennewscalljune25 
>
>
> OpenNews/New York Times/Washington Post communities partnership: 
>
> http://dansinker.com/post/89256288060/opennews-building-new-communities-with-the-new-york 
>
> Working with these news partners, but the code will be applicable and 
> usable to other news organizations too. 
>
> A little about the collaboration, the Washington Post and NYT both 
> mentioned independently to the Knight Foundation that they were 
> thinking about building new systems to engage their audience. Knight 
> said, you should talk. You're both already working with OpenNews. They 
> might be interesting partner. Brought in former IDEO designer to do 
> some user research, better understand the landscape, to build 
> something around real user need. Put together proposal, it was 
> accepted, a few months away from working on code, but both news orgs 
> committed to putting existing code into the mix. Hope is to not be a 
> three-headed monster, want to create an advisory board between orgs, 
> hire a team to manage this and work mostly autonomously. 
>
> The grant itself is 2yrs. Not take approach of work in silence and 
> release a bunch of code on last day. 
>
> Questions/comments 
>
> [enter questions for Dan here] 
>
> Will the community platform be open source from the get-go? (vs first 
> building product, and open sourcing it later) 
>
> aren't at a point where devising the exact strategy, but we bend 
> toward open, and expect that process of getting this opened up will be 
> open process. This succeeds when other people contribute as well. 
>
> The Washington Post and NYT Fellows will work together on this next 
> year, excited to loop directly into fellowship. 
>
>
>
> Steven Clift - http://stevenclift.com 
>   Executive Director - http://E-Democracy.org 
>   Twitter: http://twitter.com/democracy 
>   Tel/Text: +1.612.234.7072 
>>>
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