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From the ground up from down under

AAP is joining Sourcefabric's efforts to develop an end-to-end newsroom management system. I Photo by Corey Leopold (CC BY 2.0)
AAP is joining Sourcefabric's efforts to develop an end-to-end newsroom management system. I Photo by Corey Leopold (CC BY 2.0)

When we began dreaming of an open source, platform-agnostic publishing system many a Prague summer ago — a system that would be built on an extensible stack of open source code to serve independent journalism and its newsrooms, small and large — some of us were determined to go to the end of the world if necessary to make it happen.

I had never imagined it would actually take the joining of forces from the opposite ends of the world to make Superdesk truly happen.

Australian Associated Press (AAP), the cornerstone of Australia’s news-media scene for nearly 80 years, and Sourcefabric have just signed an agreement to replace AAP’s aging newsroom system with Superdesk.

News release: SOURCEFABRIC SIGNS AUSTRALIAN NEWS AGENCY TO OPEN SOURCE PROJECT | 14 November 2014 (PDF)

Superdesk is an end-to-end news creation, production, curation, distribution and publishing platform. We have conceived it specifically to be scalable to suit news operations of any size, with a modular approach that makes it easily extensible without requiring rewrites of the base code.

Superdesk is an ambitious project. We have been on this journey for two years, delivering Live Blog and Citizen Desk applications in the process.

With those worthwhile detours behind us, together with AAP we are now focusing on the very core of what Superdesk has to provide: the relentless, rapid production and dissemination of news without any sacrifice of quality. We aim to have it ready by the third quarter of 2015.

Superdesk newskit incl. screenshots (PDF)

Our partnership with AAP is heaven-sent on several levels. We at Sourcefabric are thrilled to have a living, breathing specimen to help us capture the journalistic DNA underlying news agencies, the ancestors of digital publishing, if you will. For an organisation like AAP, the opportunity to have a newsroom-management and publishing system built to its needs from the ground up, which it will not have to maintain and develop alone, is also unique.

While there is no higher priority for Sourcefabric than to bring this partnership to successful fruition within the next eight to ten months, our ambitions for Superdesk are even greater. We plan to address all aspects of journalistic work, traditional and new.

What we are creating together with AAP is in effect the new open-source code base for journalism for years to come. We have started building it from scratch, in an attempt to incorporate the best concepts from open source CMSs without the ballast of old code, including our own.

Making the best possible software for quality journalism is Sourcefabric’s main calling. Our institutional purpose in life is to make professional-grade technology available to all who believe that quality journalism has a fundamental role to play in any healthy society.

The way to do this is for us is to attract all like-minded organisations and initiatives around a vibrant open source project, with Superdesk at its heart. And we most certainly will not shy away from playing the role of the custodian of this new code base, in effect built by journalists for the journalists.

Write to us to learn more about Superdesk and join us in building the newsroom of the future.

Superdesk FAQ (PDF)

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