The Knight-Mozilla Partnership Evolves

Change is awesome—it’s a necessary component to anything remaining vital and a required ingredient to facilitate organic growth. And so it’s with real excitement that today I’m announcing changes to the Knight-Mozilla News Technology Partnership.

Before we get to the changes, some quick background: Conversations around the original Partnership began in 2010, with the program launching at the start of 2011. That means that the program design, by necessity, reflected 2010’s problem-sets. Two years is an eternity on the internet—it was time to rethink and retool for today.

The community around code in journalism is vastly different today than in 2010: There are a number of app teams in some of the world’s best news organizations that embrace the “show your work” philosophy of open-source; organizations like Hacks/Hackers, NICAR, the Online News Association, and others are embracing the idea of hackfests and code-driven collaboration; and independent developers are starting to become interested in hacking journalism in earnest. These are awesome developments—this community is vital and growing.

The changes to the Knight-Mozilla Partnership for 2012 engage this larger community in meaningful ways:

  • We’re helping to sponsor and organize more than a dozen hackdays around the world this year. Hackdays are one of the best ways to get developers from all over to experiment with the idea of coding for journalism, and a great way to get some open-source code back into the community.
  • We’ll be increasing the opportunities for online learning that address the needs of the high-end developers we want to get interested in journalism, as well as a separate track for journalists who want to start becoming webmakers.
  • We’re also developing a stand-alone site, Source, dedicated to shining a spotlight on the vital work going on in the journalism code community through case studies, walkthroughs, tutorials, code snippets, and much more.
  • Of course, the biggest element of the Partnership, our Knight-Mozilla Fellowships, stays a vital center to the program. And in 2012 it grows—from five year-long fellowships to eight. There are some other changes in store for the Fellowships as well—that’ll be a topic for a blog post of its own soon.

These aren’t small changes—they alter what we’re doing in a lot of exciting ways. In fact, they’re big enough that we decided a new name and identity was in order. So the Knight-Mozilla News Technology Partnership, also known as MoJo, is no longer—welcome to Knight-Mozilla OpenNews. A new year starts right now.