Yesterday was a big one for newspaper companies

The Journal Register Company, which is running a forward thinking project focusing on newspaper production, reached an important landmark yesterday, and published their newspapers using open source tools.

Read about it from Jeff Jarvis and on the Journal Register’s blog about the project they have appropriately titled, “The Ben Franklin Project”. The work that The Journal Register Company is putting into this will provide a template for others to build upon.

More from Steve Earley and John Paton.

ProPublica relaunch includes ‘future of context’ ideas

You can read about it at Nieman Journalism Lab.

Check out some sample reports:

ProPublica: Gulf Oil Spill

ProPublica: Tainted Drywall

ProPublica: Buried Secrets: Gas Drilling’s Environmental Threat

Related:

The Future of Context

hacks/hackers teaming up with Mozilla on a course

This sounds like a fantastic opportunity for programmers who want to become familiar with journalism, and journalists to become familiar with programming.

Recent Journalist-Programmer reads

O’Reilly Radar: Mike Loukides: “What is Data Science?”

Media Shift: Marc Glaser: “Why Journalists Should Learn Computer Programming”

Rafe Colburn: “Why journalists should learn to program” – with a suggestion on what really to be digging into – and I agree.

Resource: Hacks/Hackers

Google News adding human editors to promote serendipity

Good move on Google’s part. Nieman Journalism Lab: “Google News experiments with human control, promotes a new serendipity with Editors’ Picks”

Mashable: “Google News and Why Human Editors Still Matter”

Previously: Techmeme: “Guess what? Automated news doesn’t quite work.”

Sean Blanda on Remixing the News

eMedia: Remix the News: “Remix the News: what news can learn from Last.fm and Pandora”: “there is no service that adequately customizes content to my tastes based on previous reading”

A good read with some important ideas. The only thing close I can think of is Google Reader’s recommendations which are based upon my clicking activity in Google Reader.

One of the commenters in Sean’s post added some thoughts about ‘intelligent serendipity’. ‘Intelligent Serendipity’ will be all important if we intend to help people get the news they need to hear, but might not be aware of it.

Some links on ‘intelligent serendipity':

Jeff Jarvis: “Serendipity is unexpected relevance”

Chis Anderson: “What would it take to build a true “serendipity-maker”?”

Mathew Ingram: “In defence of newspapers and serendipity”

Inside Guardian.com: “The Random Guardian”

Somewhere in here is the news experience of the future. Helping people connect with what they are interested in, and helping them connect with what they would (should?) be interested in, but just aren’t aware of it yet. Isn’t that the essence of ‘news’?

Open Source news and knowledge aggregation projects that have caught my eye recently

Managing News

Ushahidi

ThinkTank

The Fifty State Project

Media Cloud

A little further down the stack:

code.reddit.com

GeoDjango

Django

web.py

Flask

Drupal

There can never be enough journalists like Bill Moyers

Recently my friend and coworker Arpit Mathur passed along a critique of journalism’s sorry state using the leaked iPhone story as evidence.

Bill MoyersThe sad thing is that we might be amidst some kind of golden age for journalism and are largely unawares.

For evidence, visit sites and services like ProPublica, NPR.org, McClatchyDC, THe Center for Investigative Reporting, Global Voices, Mother Jones, Global Post.

Separate from these organizations are independents who are putting it on the line every day just for passion.

And then there are aggregators like Arts & Letters Daily to help navigate it all and organizations like Media Mobilizing to help empower acts of journalism to be created.

In Philadelphia some investors just made a large bet that Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News, and Philly.com, part of this city’s infrastructure of journalism has a promising future.

For impact consider what it took to write the “Tainted” Justice” series in the Daily News or “Justice Delayed, Dismissed, Denied” in the Inquirer.

Recently Clay Shirky spoke of the importance of organizations like the Inquirer and Daily News (The Boston Globe in this case) in reporting the Boston Catholic Church abuse scandal.

The news ecosystem is evolving and Philadelphia matters as a testbed for the rest of the nation.

For more examples of this consider the following list of Philadelphia independents, non-profits, for-profits, and organizations: NEPhilly.com, OurPhiladelphia, Philadelphia Neighborhoods, The Frankford Gazette, The Broad Street Review, WHYY, thenotebook, Phawker, Philebrity, Citypaper, Philadelphia Weekly, The Philadelphia New Media Hub, Technically Philly, and the yearly Bar Camp NewsInnovation Philadelphia. And then there is the ever growing quality list covering the arts, food, and sports, way too many too mention in this space.

J-Lab, The Institute for Interactive Journalism, recently published a report on Philadelphia’s news landscape and made some recommendations. Check it out.

Programmers and Journalists are realizing common motivations and many journalists have been thinking about computing in whole new ways that relate to their work.

There are threats. It is harder for acts of journalism we need to know, but are not aware of it, to reach us. The old economic models that have supported it have crumbled. Changes in technology and culture have brought upheaval and amidst that upheaval those with power will abuse that power when not watched. The constraints on our attention and business pressures on those to breach it are huge. It’s important to lay out these threats because they get to core issues having to do with the infrastructure required for acts of journalism to be produced and be effective.

But to re-emphasize my point – there are many organizations and individuals who are doing it today. In some cases have been doing it for years, that we need to somehow amplify among the din.

As a programmer, I recognize this has everything to do with information science, communications, marketing, and development. As a citizen I recognize it has everything to do with our communities, our neighborhoods, cities, our country and navigating the world at large and hopefully making it a better place. One story at a time.

Which makes this a sad moment to note – Bill Moyers has broadcast his last episode of “Bill Moyers Journal” and ended a run of one of the best sources of journalism on television. The Journal will be missed.

NPR.org: “After Four Decades In TV News, Bill Moyers Retires”

NYTimes: “A Breather for Moyers; Next Step Is Unclear”

Two from the Boston Globe on the Need for Better Filters

Boston Globe: Joe Keohane: Imaginary fiends: In 2009, crime went down. In fact it’s been going down for a decade. But more and more Americans believe it’s getting worse. Why do we refuse to believe the good news?

Boston Globe: Easy = True: How ‘cognitive fluency’ shapes what we believe, how we invest, and who will become a supermodel