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As the project has been a very, uh, organic process, I thought I might clarify on a few points Greg made.
First off, it is of my humble opinion that open source content management systems are philosophically better than proprietary. The key component to this argument is that you, as the developer or end user, are allowed to edit the source code with a platform such as Drupal, WordPress, or Django, whereas with a proprietary system like College Publisher you are limited to their ideas and their development cycle. News organizations not only need to be online, but they need to be able to innovate online. On top of that, in choosing an open source CMS we’re actually hoping student news organizations will take the initiative and start experimenting with how “news” or “journalism” is delivered. We’re different at the core because of this.
This conversation is especially timely, too. I’m in the process of drafting documents to define what the specific vision of CoPress will be for the next couple of years. Really, we’re a lot more than hosting. CoPress Hosting is an attempt to get student news organizations to be on the same platform so that they can collaborate. The core of what CoPress stands for is the network of collaboration, and we’ll be experimenting with the best tools to make this possible. In the video, Greg mentions a conversation that arose organically in our Google Group. We want to create a platform, something I’m calling a social intelligence tool, that allows those types of conversations to happen more often and to create more value. The short goal is this: the tool will connect you with the person most likely to be able to answer your question (whether it’s troubleshooting a faulty plugin or install Apache). To my knowledge, this has never been done. We’re a pretty ambitious bunch, though, and I figure we’ll give it a shot.
Greg also discusses the long-haul for the team. Personally, I never expected the project to get this big (it was originally going to be a 20% project at the Daily Emerald), so we’ve largely been making this up as we go along. We’re currently in the process of establishing six month, more formal positions, and my hope is that, if we start generating some sort of revenue stream, the core team will all be part-time positions. This is a bit different than what Greg said, but my logic is that I don’t think any of us (no offense to the team) is really qualified to do what we want to do. Part of it will be a learning experience, which will be valuable on its own, and part of it will be work, which it would be nice to be reimbursed for.
On the plus side, we’ll be using the full genius of Joey Baker to put together a business plan and identify methods for long-term financial sustainability.