Code Convening: Write The Docs. Come open your code with us!
by Ryan Pitts
Last year, OpenNews launched code convenings, a new program designed to give promising newsroom projects the last nudge they need toward an open-source release. Our first three code convenings provided the teams behind projects like Pym.js, the California Civic Data Coalition, and Wherewolf (among many others) structured time to do the abstraction, cleanup, and writing necessary to open their code to the journalism community.
We’re thrilled to continue this program in 2015, and today we’re opening proposals for our first code convening of the year. We’ll be bringing you and your projects to the Write The Docs conference in Portland, May 17-19. On that Sunday, we’ll get some guidance on best practices in documentation, spend the day writing and revising, and then release code. On Monday and Tuesday, we’ll participate in Write The Docs, where structured talks run alongside an unconference track, and we’ll get to learn from–and talk journalism with–a new community.
OpenNews will cover travel, conference costs and meals for this event; all you need to bring is a great project to get out into the world.
Why Write the Docs?
Solid documentation can be the hardest thing to make time for on deadline, but no one else–your colleagues included–will get much from your code without it. Write The Docs brings together people from many disciplines and roles across the technical documentation community. Embedding this code convening at Write The Docs lets us continue to offer teams (or individuals!) focused time to complete projects, while also gaining the benefits of joining forces with the documentation community. As always, we’ll release new and improved tools for the news community, and spending this time focused on documentation will also also be an investment in every project this cohort releases in the future.
How We Pick Projects
- Releasing code is the goal of every code convening, so we’ll look for projects that can be finished up during our time in Portland. If your project needs abstraction or feature work between now and May 16, you should let us know so we can work out a timeline if your project is selected.
- Because we’ll be working with Write The Docs, we’ll lean toward projects that are proven in production but need better documentation and examples so people can use them. We’ll also favor projects that can be used by the greatest number of newsrooms.
- It’s important to us to gather a diverse cohort for each code convening, so we especially encourage proposals from members of communities that are underrepresented in journalism and technology, and from news organizations in smaller markets and away from the coasts.
Are You In?
If you and/or your colleagues have a project to release and this code convening sounds like the place to do it, now is the time to let us know! Proposals will be open through 6 p.m. Eastern this Friday, April 24. We’ll consider projects as quickly as possible so we can start making travel plans.