Digital Backyards Forum “Publishing Reloaded”: Workshop

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  • “Publishing Reloaded”: Workshop Oct.18th

    The workshop “Collaborative & Open: Publishing Reloaded” discussed some main issues of the future of publishing in the digital age. How can journalists and publishers scale up through cooperation? What are their tools and how do they fund their projects? A wide range of experts came together: coders, journalists, scientists, editors, bloggers and many more. Here you will find some of the main points that were being discussed:

    Main issues

    *data journalism, investigative journalism
    *the state of journalism
    *the infrastructure of publishing


    *Who are the European actors/funders/institutions/groups which support journalism – what is the European equivalent to the US-American Knight Foundation?

    Different projects and perspectives
    Different publishing and networking projects are being presented. The projects reflect on how different a “scaling up through cooperation” could look like.

    Stefan Candea (The Sponge)

    *Stefan Candea, investigative journalist and scientist from Romania, shares his experiences with an open media challenge/hackathon for journalistic content
    *Journalism has no research and development department like other industries, therefore the old business model of putting all efforts in building an audience and sell it to advertisers or power-groups, remained the main business modell
    *Would a collaborative approach outside the mainstream media and at the intersection of related professions change this? Would this approach create a community interested in relevant and verifiable information?
    *TheSponge is a collaborative media innovation lab
    *Journalists do network well with each but not with other relevant professions like coders, activists, designers and academia

    Markus Hametner (Luminous Flux)

    *Luminous Flux is an open source project in which experiments with a new format for covering developing stories, in an internet-native way
    *How does it work? It combines a moderated stream of content relevant to the topic with a dossier-like, structured overview to the story
    *You can change articles at all times and making this action a central part of the editorial process
    *Open source visualizations support and are in dialogue with text processes

    Nicolas Kayser-Bril (

    *Journalism++ helps journalists get to grasp with technology and data and helps developers to tell the stories they have in mind
    *The company invents new ways to collect, analyze and visualize data
    *Most of the projects are open source, the company making money through customization and training
    *There are problems and limitations of these kind of business modells
    *how are innovations in journalism financed? Example of OWNI: they sell websites and with a part of the money they support journalism
    *The company gets money for working in Camerun but there is no money from e.g. Soros to a French company to do work in Eastern Europe
    *There is innovation money from EU (IBM, SAP) but there are hardly any results apart from lengthy reports with hardly any readers

    Julius Tröger

    *Redundancy of news: How can we produce original journalism? How can we produce quotable (rather than “copy and paste”-able) sources? How can those who originate be paid?
    *Idea of transpubishing of Ted Nelson (1960): Take what you want from a source and remix it on your website/article; newswire organizations like Associated Press (funded by newspapers) worked like this
    *Reputation economy as an alternative model and not earning for sales of copies but gaining through recognition and rising popularity and subsequent jobs

    Simon Worthington (Hybrid Publishing Consortium)

    *What is a contemporary notion of the public domain in publishing?
    *Important issue: cooperation between institutions in crisis & publishing houses and universities (another sector that is profoundly changing); example: Leuphana partnership with Zeit Verlag
    *The Hybrid Publishing Consortium is a proposal to form a consortium to support the different software tools needed in a multi-platform digital publishing workflow, based on open standards and Open Source
    *An example software chain would be can be found here

    Conclusion: Ideas and Questions


    *Connection: We need to connect all the different networks that are already out there – this could work like couchsurfing: could there be something like a meta-network? How could we fund and support something like this and aren’t there already enough networks?
    *Scaling up: different interpretation, different approaches, it is not about replacing Google (no, we don’t want another centralized institute), or is scaling up just about making money?
    *Example for a meta network:, here the mapping of existing networks worked, but: people usually want to make their own thing and don’t look for more projects, to work together you have to meet in person


    *A hackaton for journalism? example of a Hackathon in the Netherlands: Apps for museum to open their archive were created: and by this two networks were brought together: developers and museums
    *How can we create links between new technologies and the publishing industry (or is it better to work with independent journalists)?
    *Do we really need a European Google?
    *What do we want: Make a decent living? Make a lot of money?
    *Why is publishing the only sector which is not successful on scaling up in the internet?

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