Take a bow. You did it.
Today, as part of our Ben Franklin Project, our 18 daily newspapers and their websites were sourced, produced and printed using only free web-based tools. Surely, a first in U.S. newspaper publishing history and one we have shared in a press release to the world http://bit.ly/aINhEB.
On this Independence Day, you have declared that our Company’s future will be freed from expensive and restrictive proprietary publishing systems but more importantly that our Company will be freed from the old way of thinking about how we do business. You have ensured we will become a Company with a future and one that will continue in its mission to serve our communities with compelling local journalism.
And while the tools you have found and adapted are an achievement, it is our new approach to journalism which is the true revolution here. The Ben Franklin Project is the beginning of a new era of an open and transparent newsgathering process. Our publications harnessed the power of their audiences to tell stories of importance to their communities. Those stories ranged from childhood obesity to property taxes.
Your enthusiasm on taking on this ambitious project has been wonderful. While some of the projects were very serious you didn’t forget to have fun along the way. Check out Editor Phil Heron’s crew at the Daily Times as they talk about the project http://bit.ly/96aHW7. And the fun Editor Barbara Lombardo’s team was having at the Saratogian http://bit.ly/9ptL0a.
So now that we have started this revolution we must continue it because I believe the fight to save our industry is also a fight to ensure the continuance of quality local journalism. In our communities we intend to be at the core of a local network of news and information providers from bloggers to institutions. We can only do that by being open and transparent and freed from the old legacy process of producing newspapers.
Let me leave you with what might well be our Declaration of Independence as outlined by the Daily Local’s production chief Karl Sickafus. Karl – whose office is a collection of I.T. bits and pieces, hammers, saws, pliers, string and gaffer’s tape (accompanied by Jazz music playing in the background) – has outlined some next steps for our Company in our search to be completely independent of proprietary systems.
Have a read of Karl’s thoughts below. Until next time, John.