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Here are a few good examples of recent innovations in news technology that demonstrate the advantages of "open" -- as both a software development model, and in the intent of the software to promote openness & transparency:


DocumentCloud was born as a collaboration between two Pro Publica and the New York Times, DocumentCloud enables news organizations to easily publish primary source documents online. Additionally, the software takes inaccessible document formats like PDFs and makes them searchable and annotatable. DocumentCloud has taken great efforts to not only release its underlying source code, but has also released a number of stand-alone software tools and libraries that have taken on a life of their own. (Knight Funded) http://www.documentcloud.org/

Think Up App

Think Up App is an innovative open-source software project developed by author / blogger Gina Trapani (founder of Lifehacker.com). It was taken further and pushed into the news ecosystem by technology entrepreneur Anil Dash, and has been improved by community of volunteer developers. It can be used to gain insights by asking questions and tracking responses on social networks like Twitter and Facebook. Software like ThinkUp App presents a new opportunity for news organizations to engage with their readers. http://thinkupapp.com/


Along the lines of Processing.js, Protovis is free and open-source graphic visualization tools. It uses JavaScript and SVG for web-native visualizations; no plugin required. Similarly, Time Flow is an open-source timeline built to help journalists analyze and display temporal data. As journalists turn toward data as a source for their stories, it is tools like Processing.js, Protovis, and Time Flow that will enable them to tell those stories in a visually compelling way. http://vis.stanford.edu/protovis/ https://github.com/FlowingMedia/TimeFlow


Cartagen is a vector-based, client-side framework for rendering maps in native HTML 5. Written in JavaScript, it uses the new Canvas element to load mapping data from various sources, including OpenStreetMap. Mapumental is a mapping tool that will help people work out where to live, where to find a job, or where to go on holiday. It is being built by "civic hackers" MySociety.org in partnership with Channel 4 News in the UK. http://cartagen.org/ http://www.mysociety.org/projects/mapumental/


Similar to the Sunlight Foundation's Real Time Congress App that lets users access real-time information about Congress on their iPhone and Android device, GeoCongress is a demonstration application of similar functionality built entirely in HTML5 and Javascript that will run on those same devices. These types of innovations are possible due to the public open APIs that are made available by the Sunlight Foundation, GovTrack, and Yahoo News. http://geocongress.us/ http://realtimecongress.org/ http://sunlightlabs.com/blog/2009/congress-theres-an-android-app-for-that/