Guardian column: a new news platform

My Guardian column this week reprises the discussion from my post about Google as the new pressroom and then adds some thoughts about news organizations sharing open-source platforms. Snippet:

The Guardian is spending a few years building its own platform, but can every news organisation afford this? No. And will technology ultimately differentiate one news provider from another? I doubt it. So why not share a platform with many sites, sources and voices? In the UK, I have suggested – naively, I know – that the BBC should provide that platform for all news efforts (professional and amateur). Isn’t that a proper definition of public-service publishing?

A shared platform for news organisations wouldn’t be anticompetitive: it would be pro-efficiency. If any paper, station or site could pluck software from the cloud and freely use and adapt it to perform essential functions then it could concentrate its resources on what matters – journalism.

At the Guardian’s seminar, I asked what the paper is if not a manufacturer, distributor or technology company. “Fundamentally, it’s courageous, independent, liberal journalism,” was one editor’s reply. “That’s the essence of the Guardian, or should be.”

Exactly right. But this also treats the Guardian as a product and I asked – in the spirit of Roussel’s effort to reimagine a paper – whether online it should be something else, with a different relationship to its public: a platform, a network, a community, a collaboration. Should the Guardian strive to be the world’s leading liberal voice – or voices?

Thanks again to Edward Roussel and Bob Wyman for inspiring the discussion.

  • http://www.byjoeybaker.com/blog Joey Baker

    @Jeff-
    Heh… this will be the third time I’ve written this comment, but I’m curious what your reaction, so here goes again:

    I think what you’re proposing already exists (kind of) at: http://www.collegepublisher.com/
    Which is a pre-built Content Management System (CMS) and platform for college newspapers. It 1) provides a CMS so that papers have a quick and easy way to get online and mange their site. 2) includes the paper in the CP network so that all news from a locality can be brought together on one site.

    It seems like this system just needs to be adopted for non-collegiate newspapers.