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April 17, 2014, 12:14 p.m.
LINK: source.opennews.org  ➚   |   Posted by: Caroline O'Donovan   |   April 17, 2014

At the 2014 OpenNews code convening, two developers — WNYC’s Noah Veltman and Al Jazeera’s Michael Keller — got together to iterate on a preexisting tool from The New York Times.

FourScore helps developers easily build audience sentiment maps — think of it as a crowdsourced, less snarky version of New York magazine’s Approval Matrix. WNYC had used the technique previously for a Valentine’s Day sentiment matrix, and Veltman thought it would be useful if the code was open source.

In a post at Source, Veltman and Keller describe the importance of making code for projects like this not just open to other developers, but also useful to them.

In some sense, the WNYC sentiment grid was already “open source.” Virtually all of the code is client-side JavaScript; you could view-source in your browser, figure out how it works and then reuse or mimic it as needed. But this presumes that you have both the expertise and patience needed to deconstruct someone else’s spaghetti code, and you probably don’t. Ultimately you’d be better off starting from scratch than investing the time to get into the author’s brain and jerry-rigging the code for a different situation.

They go on to say that important considerations in writing code that’s helpful for future users include browser compatibility, logical chunking, documentation and consideration of diverse workflows.

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For print newspapers, one Florida retirement community is a better market than Atlanta, St. Louis, or Portland
For local newspapers, print circulation has collapsed for every audience except retirees. That’s why the daily paper in The Villages, Florida (metro population 129,752) prints as many copies as the one in Atlanta (metro population 6,930,423).
The Tributary, covering Florida’s largest city, will be a worker-directed nonprofit
Staffers will take part in making collective decisions about the organization, from hiring and compensation to developing the budget, along with their journalistic work.
The Los Angeles Times gets a fully staffed “burner account”
The first-of-its-kind team is offering “views, vibes, and commentary.”