NewsCloud to make Facebook-connected communities easy

Knight Foundation grant will support improved simplicity and affordability in innovative open source technology

SEATTLE, Wash. — Social media developer NewsCloud will make its open source Facebook-connected platform easier and more affordable for communities and news organizations. The project is being made possible by a $190,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

For the last year, NewsCloud has launched applications for organizations as large as The Washington Post and The Boston Globe. “Cost and complexity remain the greatest barriers to adoption by a wider array of news and community organizations,” said Jeff Reifman, NewsCloud Founder. “With this grant, we’re going to eliminate these barriers and deliver an affordable turnkey solution.”

According to Facebook statistics, there are more than 500 million active Facebook members, who collectively spend 700 billion minutes per month on the service. NewsCloud’s platform allows media organizations and news sites to connect users to one another with features such as blogging, forums, multimedia galleries, predictions games, classifieds, questions and answers, idea gathering, lending libraries and more.

“The new version of NewsCloud will be especially useful to local community news sites and community foundations supporting local journalism,” said Jose Zamora, Knight Foundation Journalism Program Associate. “NewsCloud’s next iteration will allow organizations interested in integrating their sites with Facebook to do it without having to invest in technical support. It will allow them to use social networks to increase their reach, inform, engage and interact with their communities online. The platform also opens new revenue opportunities for news sites of any size.”

NewsCloud plans to deliver the simplified version of its software by September 2011. Improvements will continue through April 2012. “Not only will the next release be easier to set up, manage and populate with content, but you can host it for less than $100 per month,” says Reifman. Software developers can install the current NewsCloud software used by larger news organizations by visiting http://opensource.newscloud.com.

The Knight Foundation has funded NewsCloud’s research efforts and development since 2008. Research into the engagement of young people with news in Facebook is available at http://newscloud.com/research. NewsCloud’s recent report on its work with news organizations is available at http://newscloud.net/fm9SuI.

About NewsCloud

Launched in 2005, NewsCloud provides a robust open source community engagement platform for news and community organizations. The NewsCloud source code is available free to download. Visit opensource.newscloud.com or follow @newscloud on Twitter for additional information and updates.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation invests in journalism excellence worldwide and in the vitality of U.S. communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. Since 1950, the foundation has granted more than $400 million to advance quality journalism and freedom of expression. Knight Foundation focuses on projects with the potential to create transformational change. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.

Contact:

Marc Fest, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, (305) 908 2677,fest@knightfoundation.org

Jeff Reifman, NewsCloud, jeff@newscloud.com

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.