This week, eleven contributors gathered with us in Washington, D.C. to work on a new resource—a playbook for open-sourcing newsroom code. Together we hoped to tackle a question that’s come up again and again: how to help more newsrooms produce open-source projects, so that everyone can spend more time on great journalism instead of re-creating common tools, tech, and datasets from scratch.
Here’s the second half of our report-back from Austin’s code convening, introducing five more bot-centered open source projects from our participants.
Code convenings have been regular events on the OpenNews calendar for a little more than two years now, each of them bringing a small group of designers and developers together to work on projects that fit a particular theme. Given a chance to step away from normal routines and daily deadlines, participants spend a couple days writing code and documentation before releasing fresh open-source projects and updates into the journalism community. The Austin event earlier this month definitely was our largest so far, with nine projects. It was a fantastic mix of people, with developers and designers from all sizes of news organizations, and fields like education, finance, and civic tech. Here’s what everyone is working on.
Earlier this year at La Nación, we developed Doc2Media, an app that adds media resources to documents hosted on DocumentCloud. We created it to visualize hearings from a famous trial led by Alberto Nisman, a prosecutor who died in unclear circumstances hours before testifying against the Argentinian president. After we finished the project, we wanted to extend its functionality and abstract it to a tool that can be used in other projects as well as by other newsrooms.
Since the launch of Autotune, we have been approached by people interested in adopting it for their own newsrooms. While a lot of people didn’t mind diving right into the set up, a few people asked us “Is there anywhere I can try this out?”. Fueled by the amazing coffee selection at the most recent OpenNews code convening in Portland, we decided to build a demo site that allows users to try building projects and get a feel for the framework.
Made at our recent code convening, broca creates a system for easier experimentation and implementation of natural language processing.
At the OpenNews July 2015 Code Convening, the NPR Visuals Team built and released a desktop app for creating shareable images across social media platforms.
Our fifth OpenNews code convening wrapped up last Friday. Uniquely for our convenings, this one included all seven of our current Knight-Mozilla Fellows, each working with a colleague from their news organization or another organization with shared challenges and complimentary skills. Over the next week, we’ll be posting project introductions from each of the seven project teams that joined us in Portland for the event. In the interim, a quick intro to the teams, the projects they brought to the convening, and what they got done.
Journalist-coders tackled last-mile work and documentation at our Open News code convening in May, held in affiliation with the Write the Docs conference. Here’s what they did and what comes next.
An open source elections-data URL locator and parser for Clarity Elections results, from the team at OpenElections.
The Election Night API is a set of tools, configurations, and instructions to collect and serve election results on election night, while still providing an off-season service, and focusing on saving resources as much as possible.
As part of the OpenNews Code Convening held earlier this month, we’re releasing Whippersnapper—an automated screenshot tool to keep a visual history of content on the web. It builds on top of other open source projects to capture and upload screenshots of a web page, giving users creative power to track how the internet visually changes.
Earlier this month, we held our third-ever OpenNews Code Convening, and our first one west of Portland, Oregon. Code Convenings are short events that bring together pairs of developers from news organizations to finish, document, and release open source projects they’ve been chipping away at.
The California Civic Data Coalition issues a challenge.
Launching with two new Django applications ready made to make California campaign finance data easier to access.
PourOver is an attempt to standardize an efficient and extensible model of client-side collection management, weakening reliance on server-side collection operations. Even on modern networks with beefy machines, the roundtrip to a backend is irredeemably slow for responsive UIs. Users aren’t encouraged to explore when every manipulation triggers a half-second pause. With PourOver, the server-trip bottleneck is gone because collection operations are done on the client. The hardest limitation becomes render speed, much simpler to improve upon than the latency of the internet.
At the 2014 OpenNews code convening, we took on the task of making a reusable system that could allow other organizations to produce something sentiment grids with a bare minimum of technical know-how. The result was FourScore, a library that allows you to set a few configuration options to produce your very own interactive sentiment grid. It even works in IE8, and maybe doesn’t totally not work in IE7.