Introducing the Field Guide to Open Source in the Newsroom

A guidebook for people who care about journalism and open source

The Field Guide’s humble beginnings, with a team of in-person writers. (OpenNews)

Today we’re thrilled to announce the first release of our community-built guidebook, The Field Guide to Open Source in the Newsroom.

It’s the work of more than 20 contributors from around the country and around the world—and that’s just the total so far. In fact, today we can officially say that the Field Guide is ready for your contributions.

What It Is

The guidebook helps newsroom developers, technologists and journalists work through the entire open-sourcing process—from the first release to handoffs and sunsets. It’s full of useful wisdom on how to get the right approvals, sidestep mistakes around privacy and documentation, foster a collaborative and engaged community, and, finally, say goodbye to a project.

Why We Made It

The Field Guide—like pretty much all OpenNews projects—is ultimately about strengthening collaboration around journalism and code. Open source projects tend to slip way, way down the daily task list, thanks to the hectic pace of the newsroom. Often it’s hard to write your own docs, let alone plan an open source project. But when we share common open source tools, everyone can work faster and spend more time covering the news—which is especially critical now.

How You Can Help

We’ve put the entire Field Guide so far up on GitHub, where it’s ready for your voice and expertise.

No matter what your skill level is, we want and need your help. Some places to begin:

  • Could you read through the guidebook and tell us what’s missing, or what could be better?
  • Could you write up a case study covering a project you’ve worked on?
  • Could you describe the cultural roadblocks you’ve run into in your newsroom, and how you’ve pushed through them?
  • Could you help refine or add to the checklists at the ends of chapters?
  • Could you work on translating this documentation into another language?

If you’re not sure where to start, check out our list of issues—pick one and dive in! Our full contributors’ guide is here.

Next Steps

Later this spring, we’ll make the field guide available as a downloadable PDF and EPUB, ready for sharing with anyone in the newsroom.

We’re also excited to announce the initial release of a companion tool alongside the Field Guide. Open Project Linter is an automated checklist you can use to test project directories for good practices in documentation and code. It’s an open-source project as well, imagined by Sumana Harihareswara of Changeset Consulting, one of the writers in our documentation sprint, and designed and written by Frances Hocutt. And now ready for contributions from the community.

Questions? You can reach the Field Guide team here: fieldguide@opennews.org.

Roll Credits

This project was originally written and edited by…

Our in-person writers:

  • Jeremy Bowers
  • David Forbes
  • Jane Friedhoff
  • Sumana Harihareswara
  • Kaeti Hinck
  • Adam Schweigert
  • Kavya Sukumar
  • Alan Palazzolo
  • Katie Park
  • …with special assists from Ryan Sholin and Jacob Harris

And our remote editors:

  • Bissie Anderson
  • Daniel Bachhuber
  • Mallory Busch
  • Bradley Fields
  • James Gordon
  • Ted Han
  • Jacob Harris
  • John Heasly
  • Ændrew Rininsland
  • Ryan Sholin
  • Amanda Wegrzyn
  • Derek Willis





Current page