Posted by: commonsresource | July 5, 2010

Embracing Independence Day – Major U.S. Newspaper Chain Goes Open Source

My TweetDeck was busy yesterday with a number of tweets about Curt Hopkins’ ReadWriteWeb post entitle Major Newspaper Chain Goes Open Source. He reports that

the Journal Register Company, a U.S. newspaper chain with 170 publications…tried open source for a month. [JRC’s The Ben Franklin Project] went so well it decided to make it permanent and company-wide for its 18 daily newspapers and their websites.

Curt goes on to refer, in his words, to yesterday’s “somewhat cutesy press release” in which the Journal Register Company declares “independence from proprietary publishing systems.” Its press release goes on to state that

The Ben Franklin Project not only proves that websites and newspapers can be freed from the restraints of legacy, proprietary publishing systems, but also heralds the potential of an open and transparent newsgathering process. The Project allowed audience members to help shape editorial story budgets through crowd sourcing. Stories ranged from an in-depth look at property taxes and community revitalization projects to reports on childhood obesity….

The Company’s newsrooms were not the only focus of the Ben Franklin Project. From advertising ordering, to print and digital ad design, to finance, free web-based tools were utilized throughout the production process….

“The collaborative nature of the Ben Franklin Project has provided opportunities for innovation and created an environment where the best ideas will win out. Journal Register’s employees have developed new low-cost solutions to long-standing, legacy issues,” said Mr. Cooper. These include using free, open-source desktop publishing tools and combining software programs that could serve as models for future development of billing and ad tracking interfaces.

The Company will continue to expand on this ground-breaking experiment and will continue to share — through blogs and social media — lessons learned from the Ben Franklin Project with others in the industry.

That’s all very good news. Thanks, Curt, for your post and congratulations to the JRC for embracing Independence Day in this creative way and allowing all of us in the commons sourcing world to celebrate the 4th of July!


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Billy Bonkoski. Billy Bonkoski said: Embracing Independence Day – Major U.S. Newspaper Chain Goes Open … […]

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