Launching an Independent OpenNews Program

At Mozilla, one of our essential roles is convener: working to identify, connect and support like-minded people who are building a healthier Internet.

An early — and strong — example of that work is the OpenNews program. Six years ago, Mozilla and Knight Foundation created an initiative to combine open-source practices with journalism. Our aim: strengthen journalism on the open web, and empower newsroom developers, designers and data reporters across the globe.

The program flourished. Since 2011, OpenNews has placed 33 fellows in 19 newsrooms, from BBC and NPR to La Nacion and the New York Times. It built a global community of more than 1,100 developers and reporters. It spawned the annual SRCCON conference, bolstered newsroom diversity and gave way to innovative newsgathering tools like Tabula. OpenNews has also played a key role in building the annual MozFest in London and Mozilla’s nascent leadership network initiative.

Mozilla is immensely proud of OpenNews — and immensely grateful to the team behind its success. And today, we’re announcing  that OpenNews is spinning out as  an independent organization. Going forward, OpenNews — with the support of nonprofit fiscal partner Community Partners — will build on the success it achieved when incubated at Mozilla. OpenNews will continue to play an active role in MozFest and Mozilla’s leadership network.

Mozilla isn’t departing the realm of journalism and media — they will remain central topics as we develop Mozilla’s Internet Health strategy over the coming years. MozFest will increasingly focus on issues like fake news, online harassment and advertising economics. This will be bolstered by Mozilla’s involvement in events like MisInfoCon in Boston later this month, where Mozilla is a sponsor and participant. On the technology front, we’ll continue to host the Coral project, which builds platforms that increase trust and engagement. We see news and media as key to our nascent Mozilla Leadership Network — and to our growing Internet health agenda.

As we chart a course forward in this work, we will be reaching out to the community to talk more specifically about where Mozilla should focus its efforts in the news and media space. If you want us to reach out to you as part of this conversation, please contact Mozilla’s Chris Lawrence at clawrence@mozillafoundation.org.

See also:

Knight Foundation: OpenNews network of journalists and technologists to launch with $1.1 million from Knight Foundation

OpenNews: OpenNews Ascent Stage Initiated