Mozilla announces a partnership with The New York Times, The Washington Post and Knight Foundation for a new online community platform.

Mozilla is proud to announce a new partnership with The New York Times and The Washington Post, funded by $3.89 million from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, to build a new, open-source content and commenting platform.

The community platform will allow news organizations to connect with audiences beyond the comments section, deepening opportunities for engagement. Through the platform, readers will be able to submit pictures, links and other media; track discussions, and manage their contributions and online identities. Publishers will then be able to collect and use this content for other forms of storytelling and spark ongoing discussions by providing readers with targeted content and notifications.

This announcement comes as a part of Mozilla’s OpenNews project — a four-year-old joint project with the Knight Foundation to create a global community of developers, journalists, makers, and hackers working, learning, and solving problems together to create the tools journalism needs to thrive on the open web.

Dan Sinker, Director of the Mozilla-Knight OpenNews project, says “This is a project that has the opportunity not only to improve community engagement in journalism, but to strengthen the web itself. Technologies like Backbone.js, D3, and Django have all been forged and tested in the demanding environment of the newsroom, and then gone on to transform the way people build on the web. We don’t know that there’s a Backbone lurking inside this project, but we’re sure as hell going to find out.”

The project is a unique collaboration between Mozilla and two of the largest and most respected news organizations in the world. Ultimately it aims to improve the relationship between users and publishers by:

  • Making user-generated contributions easier to collect and package.
  • Helping news organizations produce immersive, user-driven narratives typically only seen in large newsrooms.
  • Giving journalists a platform to discover unique voices within their communities.
  • Reaching experts to increase content quality and create value for readers.
  • Changing the way journalists and users interact by shifting the relationship from comments to conversation.

“We don’t see this project as a single product, but instead as building blocks for engaging communities throughout the web,” said Sinker. “Open source at its core, and focused on giving users unprecedented control over their identity and contributions, this is a project we believe in.”

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