Celebrating 10 years of reshaping journalism for the better
by OpenNews Team, on July 14, 2021
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OpenNews is officially 10 years old! 🎉🎉🎉
10 years of working to reshape the journalism industry for the better.
10 years of strengthening relationships across and within organizations and an ardent belief that our work is always better when done together.
10 years of creating space for developers, designers, journalists, editors, and allies to learn from each other as peers and tackle together the complex problems in journalism.
We can hardly believe it.
Looking back, the original community we sought to serve was journalists working at the intersection of data, design, and code. We wanted to help the people already working at those intersections be heard within their organizations, as well as help bring more technologists into our field.
Now, our community has grown to include many other journalists who find themselves fighting for new ideas that help journalism serve all communities. In a world in which our systems were built only for some, we work to re-make the journalism industry — through filling in the gaps, repairing broken models, or even constructing new structures entirely — so that the resulting system gets closer to working for all.
We’re incredibly proud of not only what we’ve accomplished over the last 10 years, but how we approached our work:
Filling in the gaps: Where support doesn’t exist, we create systems to support each other, and we do it through listening to our community. An industry not originally built to serve everyone has gaps by design. As we approach filling them, we always assume that the community knows what it needs, and our job is to listen and support them in accomplishing what they care about most. We seek out ways to connect community members to existing resources and, when we encounter gaps, such as when newsrooms don’t provide data reporters with the expertise required to edit their projects, we create a way for others to help.
Repairing broken models: When something doesn’t work, we come together with our community members to fix it — because they already know how. We have always believed that journalists working at the intersections have a unique position and perspective that can build a stronger future for journalism, so we nurture their ideas and help them become “thoughtful change agents.” When we see organizations ignoring their own staff’s solutions to problems, only to implement them after hiring outside “experts,” we highlight and uplift the work and the voices of those too often ignored. We help newsroom leaders break out of their organization’s status quo, or we push for change through the strength of collective action.
Constructing new structures entirely: When building genuine change, we are never satisfied with “how things have been” and instead, help our community imagine radically different solutions. Year after year, participants at our annual conference SRCCON tell us that it is the only conference where they’re able to be brave and dream big again. We model and uplift peer-led ways of learning instead of hierarchical ones. We collaborate honestly and genuinely so that our partnerships are always bigger than the sum of our parts. We create ways for people to make new and better structures, while simultaneously making the current system livable. When we launched our approach to fundraising, we rejected many commonly used practices, and instead created a sustainers program that helps build and support our community as much as it helps build and support OpenNews. When we saw and heard repeatedly that there was no place for everyone working toward an anti-racist journalism industry to work together, we co-created space with the community.
Join us in our second decade!
In celebration of our 10-year anniversary, we’re trying to find and connect with more people who would love to be a part of this community reshaping journalism. Join us for our second decade:
Sign up for our community newsletter: opennews.org/newsletter
Our bi-weekly newsletter is focused on celebrating the community and keeping up with our work to support one another. It’s where we share and celebrate the often invisible work done by members of the community, share direct offers to help community members in a tough spot, and provide a relaxed way to keep up with what the OpenNews team is up to and what we see as gaps in the system that need to be addressed.
It’s also where you can find out about OpenNews programs like Scholarships+, the DEI Coalition, and about our annual conference SRCCON, dedicated to transforming the ways journalism and tech operates in news organizations and communities. This year’s SRCCON is August 11-13, and you can join us.
We’re so excited to move into our second decade together, and over the next couple of months, we’re going to be celebrating and making explicit some things that are incredibly important to us — things like living our values, our 10-year history, and how much change our community has accomplished over the years.
We could not be more thankful for the community we serve: people tackling journalism’s most complex problems, and doing so in a way that is thoughtful, respectful, collaborative, and that takes deliberate steps to ensure that everyone can feel that they belong.
Join us in reshaping journalism for the better, together.
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