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Community Building through Communal Publishing: The Emergence of Open News

Bruns, Axel (2003) Community Building through Communal Publishing: The Emergence of Open News. Mediumi, 2.

Abstract

The open source software movement has made some significant gains in recent years – some of the software packages it has produced have become virtual industry standards, in specific fields even gaining an edge over proprietary solutions produced by the likes of Microsoft and other major commercial operators. Well beyond the field of actual software development, open source ideology itself has also become increasingly recognised as a possible alternative to, or at least alteration of, standard corporate production models, and using open software has become a form of stating one's resistance to the corporatisation of key electronic services. Open source ideology is now beginning to be translated to activities other than programming, with sometimes surprising results. One key field where this has led to significant developments is that of online news reporting. Sites such as Slashdot.org ('news for nerds, and stuff that matters') with its 450,000 registered users publish what might usefully be termed ‘open news’, more or less explicitly adapting existing open source principles of collaborative software development to arrive at a highly successful form of collaborative news coverage. Many other sites, often using the Slash code, Slashdot’s open source Web engine, or similar packages like PhP-Nuke or Postnuke, have copied this model and applied it to a wide variety of new topics. At least one site, Openflows (also running on the Slash code), makes this connection to the open source movement even more explicit, by referring to its activities as ‘Open Source Intelligence (OSI)': 'for us, OSI is the application of collaborative principles developed by the Open Source Software movement to the gathering and analysis of information. These principles include: peerreview, reputation- rather than sanctions-based authority, the free sharing of products, and flexible levels of involvement and responsibility' (Stalder & Hirsh 2002, 1). Indeed, starting from generally accepted definitions of open source software it is not difficult to translate such principles to other forms of engagement with information. Opensource.org states that the basic idea behind open source is very simple: When programmers can read, redistribute, and modify the source code for a piece of software, the Software evolves. People improve it, people adapt it, people fix bugs. And this can happen at a speed that, if one is used to the slow pace of conventional software development, seems We in the open source community have learned that this rapid evolutionary process produces better software than the traditional closed model, in which only a very few programmers can see the source and everybody else must blindly use an opaque block of bits. (Opensource.org 2003)

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ID Code: 245
Item Type: Journal Article
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Open source, Open news, news media, Open news systems, gatewatching
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > COMMUNICATION AND MEDIA STUDIES (200100) > Communication and Media Studies not elsewhere classified (200199)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > JOURNALISM AND PROFESSIONAL WRITING (190300) > Journalism Studies (190301)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2003 (Please consult author)
Deposited On: 04 Nov 2005
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 22:21

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