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The musings of a Detroit-area sportswriter in the digital age.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Ben Franklin experiment

If you haven't heard by now, the July 4 edition of The Oakland Press will be produced in its entity with software found for free (freeware) on the Internet as part of the Ben Franklin Project. The project is an initiative company-wide instituted by CEO John Paton. All daily papers within the Journal Register Company chain will be producing editions with similar prerequisites.
You may have seen our first sports page produced with our freeware design program, Scribus. In Thursday's edition, we designed the outdoors page with the new software. There were some bumps, but all in all, the page which resulted is very similar to the one we typically produce, though there are subtle differences. The real challenge for us will be getting all of our paginators up to speed in time for the big day (July 3).
The other programs we will be using include Google Docs and Open Office, for word processing; Gimp, for photo editing; and Gmail for e-mail services that day.
Also, columnist Pat Caputo and Lions beat writer Paula Pasche are combing our audience for suggestions for crowdsourced stories, another fundamental part of the project where story ideas and sources are derived from tips from the community or audience.


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