To create an open-source version of VillageSoup’s successful community news software, combining professional journalism, blogs, citizen journalism, online advertising and “reverse publishing” from online to print.
Goals: “Turning independent weekly newspaper companies and entrepreneurs into an imposing, lively, worldwide creative energy that is competitive with media company chains.”
Richard Anderson has received $885,000 to rewrite the VillageSoup online publishing platform from its original proprietary software to a new open-source publishing system. It will field-test this system in its existing Times/Citizen newspaper operations and in up to 12 additional communities. After successful field testing and debugging in year two of the grant, it will make this new publishing system available to anyone. VillageSoup launched in 1996 as a for-profit company that developed web applications for local businesses and used news to drive traffic to those sites. A key element of its business model, even back in 1996, was community discussion and user-contributed content. Says Anderson: "Ultimately, the publishing system will be made available to anyone who wants to start a hyper-local news and advertising site. This all-in-one solution will encourage greater citizen journalism."