The Field Guide to Open Source in the Newsroom


A community-built resource to help journalists work from the entire open-sourcing process.

The journalism-coding community has long advocated the benefits of open source projects. Common problems can be solved by sharing tools, and releasing code for public review can help to improve projects. But in a fast-paced newsroom environment in can be hard to advocate for open-sourcing, or indeed find time to complete all the required cleanup and documentation.

To combat these challenges, OpenNews has just released The Field Guide to Open Source in the Newsroom. The guidebook is the first ever community-built resource for conducting open-source journalism projects, and leverages the advice and experience of more than 20 newsroom developers and technologists.


Image: OpenNews.

“Open source projects tend to slip way, way down the daily task list, thanks to the hectic pace of the newsroom. Often it’s hard to write your own docs, let alone plan an open source project. But when we share common open source tools, everyone can work faster and spend more time covering the news—which is especially critical now,” the team behind the guidebook explain.

The Guide covers the entire open-sourcing process – from getting buy-in, to starting a new project, developing good documentation, and more – and illustrates each point with case studies along the way.

And, in the true spirit of open source, the team is encouraging contributions from people of all skill levels. By simply telling the story of a library you released, or asking a question as you work through your first project, your contributions will help to craft the guide into a strong and dynamic community resource.

To help potential collaborators get started, the Guide has a list of issues hosted on GitHub.

Read the Guide here.