At the End of 2017

Thank you for everything. We’re going to go lie down.

As editors of Source we are, more than anything else, readers. Pretty much everything you make, we read and watch and play (and reread and rewatch and replay) and then pick over in greater detail as we work through behind-the-scenes writeups and assemble roundups. This year, Lindsay put together 20 roundups covering hundreds of projects, and we edited dozens of deep dives on individual features. Very subjectively, it was an astonishing year in data and interactive journalism. Every week, we found ourselves both horrified by the subject matter and thrilled to see our community producing so much good work, and doing so with open kindness and generosity.

It was an exhausting year, too, for reasons that are obvious, but that I want to say aloud anyway. There was far too much bad news in the US this year. The executive branch of the government openly attacked journalists, individually and collectively, for doing their jobs. Old-school propaganda and new-school fake news for money discredited excellent work in the eyes of many viewers and readers. Journalists lost jobs en masse while social safety nets continued to dissolve.

And while everyone continued to do the work—much of it exceptionally good and widely read—something was different. Especially in the first half of the year, our contributors (understandably) worked with us more slowly than usual, at every stage of the editorial process. Most people we worked with were simply very, very tired.

The OpenNews team has always relied on daily contact with people doing the work in newsrooms to keep tabs on our community’s needs. This year, those day-to-day communications became a kind of fatigue gauge. We considered those levels of tiredness in the way we worked with writers, and also in the rhythms and character of our events and deadlines. We spaced things out and focused more than ever on caring for humans. We gave our timelines room to breathe. And in our own team, we tried to walk the walk of self-care and compassion. (I’ve never been more grateful to work with my colleagues at OpenNews as I have been this year.)

Source and OpenNews will hibernate for two weeks starting today, and return on January 8th. When we come back, we’ll have a whole stack of good and heartening things to share with you—session writeups from SRCCON:WORK, new Source Guides to help keep your teams stable and healthy, and so many excellent projects. We know many of you will be working up to and sometimes through the year-end holidays, and more than anything else, we wish for you a period of real rest before we pick up the tools again and face the next year.

Thank you for your openness and your generosity. Thank you for sharing your work. Thank you for showing up.

See you in the new year.




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