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2014: A year in review

A review of 10 ho-ho-hot stories from the past year
A review of 10 ho-ho-hot stories from the past year

We would like to start off this post with a big "thank you" to all our partners, clients, and supporters. We wish you all a very happy and successful 2015. As we look ahead to what next year has in store for Sourcefabric, we would like to take a moment to reflect on 2014, which was a particularly great year. We truly mean that, but to prove it, we decided to run through the top 10 Sourcefabric stories from the past year.

All of the following content was featured in our most recent newsletter. If you are not yet on the mailing list, you can sign up now. The new year will bring with it a number of important announcements and updates, so be sure you are signed up to hear about them. (We promise that our newsletters are not all this long).

#1. How the Australian Associated Press became the most important supporter of open source software in journalism

#2. How Word and InDesign play a role in a publisher’s love for Booktype

#3. How independent radio is rapidly growing in the South Caucasus

#4. How Live Blog turns events and breaking news into traffic

#5. How the number of radio stations using our Airtime service has soared

#6. How the story of microcredit in the Democratic Republic of Congo is told best

#7. How we made social media trustworthy and citizens into journalists

#8. How the world wide web became even more colourful

#9. How Basel’s TagesWoche successfully launched classifieds (and more)

#10. How to make a Nerdvent calendar in a day (or two)

 

#1. How the Australian Associated Press became the most important supporter of open source software in journalism

When we began planning for an open source, platform-agnostic publishing system many a Prague summer ago — a system 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 ends of the world if necessary to make it happen. We never imagined that it would be the way to go. In 2014, we formalized our partnership with the Australian Associated Press and are currently working together to shape the future of news publishing. Welcome to Superdesk, an open source, platform-agnostic publishing system.

 

#2. How Word and InDesign play a role in a publisher’s love for Booktype

Booktype is a platform for collaborative book production. Publishers have often asked us for a Word import and Adobe InDesign export functionality. We listened, and in 2014 we made Word import happen through our long term development partner BoD.de. With this new functionality, Booktype is a superior alternative to the nerve wrecking habit of attaching Word documents to emails and proofreaders faxing print outs from InDesign. Today you can import Word files in BoD’s online book editor, driven by Booktype technology.

This feature will be launched with Booktype 2.0 in the coming year.

We have also tackled the “export to InDesign” for a new client you'll hear more about in early 2015. We're making use of Adobe InDesign’s on-board XML import, and Booktype delivers a custom XML stream as an export. Then an InDesign template provides a semi-automatic transfer of complete books — including all paragraph styles — from Booktype into InDesign. We will provide such InDesign templates as a service for publishers. Stay tuned to learn more about this in early 2015.

 

#3. How independent radio is rapidly growing in the South Caucasus

In April of 2014 we were thrilled (and still are) to hear that the Swedish government decided to fund a two year project allowing us to help implement Airtime in the South Caucasus. The project is intended to inspire innovative and attractive online audio projects for small radio stations or ad hoc broadcasting endeavors. The stations will be based around existing active and interesting lifestyle and subcultural groups to help bridge the communication gap in the field of media freedom, human rights and peaceful reconciliation. Find out more on the project’s home page or the related Facebook page.

From a technical point of view, this project will allow us to dedicate more love to the “Broadcaster” theme  which links radio stations using our Airtime scheduling software alongside Newscoop, our website publisher.

 

#4. How Live Blog turns events and breaking news into traffic

Live Blog saw great interest and pick-up from publishers in 2014. Built on Superdesk technology, Live Blog allows for live event and breaking news coverage as it unfolds. It is being used by NZZ with their "Achterkette" World Cup blog, Ruhrnachrichten, Rheinische Post and others.

In partnership with German news publisher and Live Blog client Zeit Online, we developed a feature to set Live Blog apart from other solutions: Live Blog provides an easy way to make your blog content visible to search engines. As a publisher, you can set your CMS to request a static HTML version from an API and insert it into an article page. Search engines then see the latest posts from the embedded blog and index them. 

Enough tech talk. In short: Live Blog can put you ahead of the competition when it comes to Google ranking. (Not enough tech talk? Then read more in our forum.)

 

#5. How the number of radio stations using our Airtime service has soared

2014 was the year that the Airtime developer team took it upon themselves to tinker with the signup page of our Airtime services. They did so successfully. We eventually relaunched the entire site. Today broadcasters are able to get to a free trial in two clicks. Two. As in 2. We improved our marketing, too (as in ‘also’).

All in all, we increased the number of new users per month by 800% this year as compared to last year. Airtime Pro is looking to close out the year with a bang. As of December 11th we’ve launched 235 new instances, putting us on pace for a record month. We’re excited to be at the center of all of these new stations and happy to help get more voices heard.

 

#6. How the story of microcredit in the Democratic Republic of Congo is told best

The east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is still suffering the consequences of years of war. Despite this difficult context, many micro-entrepreneurs have decided to launch their businesses in Microfinance. Hervé Verloes, journalist and co-founder of Newsant wanted to tell that story. As a former consultant for Sourcefabric, he decided to contact us to create the best possible user experience to tell the story. Together we developed the longform, multimedia experience you can find at: http://microcreditskivu.eu/fr/ (story in french).

Thanks to Hervé for his input in the development. We are very pleased with the result and will release the design work as a Newscoop theme in 2015. So stay tuned for more exciting news on this project.

 

#7. How we made social media trustworthy and citizens into journalists

You may have read about Citizen Desk on Twitter, but is it true? This is what Citizen Desk is all about. It allows for the collection and verification of eyewitness media coming in through social media or SMS. We’re well on the way to making Citizen Desk a stable tool to help news organisations turn ordinary citizens into reporters. So we can in fact verify that it's is true what you have heard.

When news organisations integrate citizen journalism into their coverage, they increase their scope and empower individuals in the communities they serve. With an earlier version, we successfully proved the need and value of such a tool with Mozambique’s @Verdade newspaper.

In 2014 we had hoped to launch Citizen Desk 2.0 together with @Verdade covering the elections in Mozambique. Unfortunately, circumstances prevented @Verdade from providing election coverage. In short, Citizen Desk 2.0 is out and works, it just hasn’t yet had the project to prove itself in the field.

 

#8. How the world wide web became even more colourful

2014 was also a good year for Newscoop themes. The latest addition to the theme collection for our web publishing tool is called “Liquid”. It adapts to different screen resolutions nicely, like a river does to the landscape, hence the name “liquid”. It also features infinite scroll, loading more items as you reach the end of the page. This allows the user to relax and not think about the layout, pagination, or controls of the site. Items are stacked one under another chronologically, enabling the user to easily scroll back up to the previous content.

We also did tons of improvements on the “Broadcaster” theme which links our Airtime web radio software with Newscoop. Interested? Have a look at our our full theme collection.

 

#9. How Basel’s TagesWoche successfully launched classifieds (and more)

If you live in Basel, Switzerland and plan to sell your designer chair, last season’s smartphone, children’s clothing, the backpack you (be honest) never needed - or if you want to buy any of the above, go to the TagesWoche classifieds.

Ever since the launch of Newscoop’s plugin system, our new features development for clients has consisted predominantly of plugins. If you are using Newscoop and this all happened off your radar, you can find most of the plugins already on our GitHub account.

TagesWoche is making excellent use of the plugin structure. One of the first-ever plugins was developed with TagesWoche as a partner: The ingest, importing news feeds, wire services and other external data sources.

 

#10. How to make a Nerdvent calendar in a day (or two)

The title of this story hides the core message: Did you know that Sourcefabric has project managers, designers and template developers who are dedicated solely to client projects? Many people think of us only as code developers. Fewer know that we offer client services covering everything from concept, business analysis, design, development, hosting and paid support. To find out how good these people really are, Gideon Lehmann (Head of Client Projects) organised a meeting with a few team members. One of the tasks during the meeting was to make a calendar plugin for Newscoop and push it to our front page all in one day. And they did. You can see it in action on our website.

If you want to know more about the client project team and see the placeholder picture of Gideon he's been using in wireframes ever since we’ve known him, read the blog post “The #Nerdvent calendar and how we got there”.

 

We will be back next year with a number of new and exciting announcements. In the meantime, if you have any comments or questions, please feel free to send us an email at any time.

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