What barriers have hindered the success of your project to date? How do you plan to overcome these and other challenges as you grow your solution?
A lack of development resources meant that, previously, an open source newsroom software was not a possibility. Any resources the organisation had were invested into the development of Newscoop which already had professional users. Sourcefabric was launched in late April 2010 with generous start up funding, which allowed us to plan our core activities well into the future and begin Superdesk development.
How do you see the information-technology and media sectors shifting over the next decade? How will your solution adapt to and/or drive that changing environment?
If traditional media companies, and especially mid-size or small ones, are to survive, they have to be ready for any eventuality in the industry. Superdesk opens up management thinking to emerging platforms. It makes any media operation multi-platform by default (with nearly unchanged staff). It increases productivity, decreases processing time of news events, provides an ultimate insurance policy against diminishing returns on any platform (e.g. print) and taps the full content-generation capacity of a media organisation.
Failure is not always an option. If your solution fails to gain traction in the next two years, what other applications of the idea could you explore?
Firstly, interoperability with Sourcefabric's other open source software products for media organisations will be built into Superdesk as standard, meaning that should the idea fail to gain traction, our other software would 'inherit' the features.
Secondly, given that the codebase is open source, the project could also be given over to 'the community' to maintain - allowing adaptation and improvement to take place on that basis.
Thirdly, once the product is developed, enterprise-level modules and features can be developed for major media, meaning that even if wide-scale adoption does not take place, project-by-project integrations can take place, with appropriate resources being budgeted for in a bespoke fashion.
Expand on your selections, explaining how you will sustain funding
Sourcefabric and Superdesk will have three key revenue streams:
1) Start-up funding. Generous start-up funding in April 2010 has allowed for dramatic expansion over three years and the implementation of a business plan to maintain financial sustainability.
2) Partnerships and donors. Sourcefabric is working with a number of partners throughout the world who fund specific media projects. This funding is often used to develop the tools being used (like Superdesk) and then the improvements are committed into the public versions of the software.
3) Software as a Service (SaaS). Paid hosting and support for our software will become a significant revenue stream in 2012. Our first SaaS programme's infrastructure will pave the way for Superdesk SaaS and launches in October 2011.
Tell us about your partnerships
Sourcefabric was formerly known as CAMP (the Center for Advanced Media-Prague), initially founded by the Media Development Loan Foundation in 1998. It is now an autonomous organisation that has partnerships throughout the word with various donors, NGOs and media development bodies. Recent project partners include the Open Society Initative For West Africa and IREX Media. A private Swiss foundation is providing Sourcefabric with its core funding currently.
What type of team (staff, volunteers, etc.) will ensure that you achieve the growth milestones identified in the Social Impact section?
Sourcefabric has a team of over 35 employees based in offices in Prague, Berlin, Cluj, Minsk, Toronto and Guatemala. Their roles range from development, to quality assurance, to administration, to client liaison, project management and communications.
All have significant experience in their field, many have been involved in journalism previously - all are passionate and dedicated to supporting independent media worldwide.
Changemakers is a collaborative and supportive space. Please specify any community resources you would need to grow and sustain your initiative. Select all that apply
Investment, Marketing or media, Collaboration or networking, Innovation or ideas.
Specify any resources you might offer to support other initiatives. Select all that apply
Human resources or talent, Marketing or media, Research or information, Collaboration or networking, Innovation or ideas, Mentorship.
Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren’t specified within the list
Sourcefabric would be committed to becoming active in the Changemakers space and would commit significant resources in the form of media expertise, global journalistic and news enterprise contacts, collaborative research or idea-sharing and mentorship for young developers or journalists interested in this field.
In return Sourcefabric hopes to gain further exposure for the work it is doing, and specifically for Superdesk, access to a greater range of news organisations that could benefit from the project. Funding, collaboration and networking opportunities with other NGOs, media projects and news agencies would be welcomed.