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June 30, 2016, 3:39 p.m.
Reporting & Production
LINK: www.surveygizmo.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Ricardo Bilton   |   June 30, 2016

It’s been five years since The Knight Foundation and Mozilla launched OpenNews, an organization focused on building a community of journalism-keen developers. Now it’s trying to get a better idea of who those developers are, and how it can serve them better.

The group published a new survey this week, asking developers to share their experiences working at media organizations and in related fields. The survey, aimed at developers who either work in newsrooms or do work that in some way supports journalism, is designed to get a sense of who these developers are, what they do, and how they work.

One question, for example, asks about the organizational structures of respondents’ organizations, such as how big teams are and who they report to (an editor, a VP of products, a business-side VP, etc.). Other questions ask about the biggest challenge to implementing technology in the newsroom, how the community can better serve technologists working in smaller newsrooms, and what the journalism tech community overall needs to thrive.

“We know this community loves to collaborate and share their work, and we hope to better understand what helps them do their best work. We also want to understand what helps them feel connected and supported in their work, so that they can continue to build their skills and leadership,” said OpenNews program manager Erika Owens. “We want this community to continue to grow in a healthy way that includes people from all backgrounds, especially under-represented groups.”

The community-focused OpenNews is also asking bigger-picture questions about whether developers who work in journalism or on journalism-relevant projects consider themselves a part of a bigger community. In another question, the group asks if there are other ways that respondents work with organizations trying to keep the web open.

OpenNews is also asking people to share census-type data such as age, gender identity, and country of residence, in an effort to get a better sense of the overall makeup of the community. Those questions are a product of the Nerd News Survey, whose development was led by ProPublica deputy managing editor Scott Klien and New York Times executive director of technology Brian Hamman.

OpenNews plans to share a summary of the results once it gets enough responses.

OpenNews runs the SRCCON conference, which takes place in Portland at the end of July; Nieman Lab will be there.

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