Creating Technology for Social Change

Open Park: Phase II & Summer Plans

“The pictures told the story of all of them, from different planets, representing different ethics, united by a common bond – the galactic Co-operation.”

“Once you find your place in the galactic Co-operation – and I assure you that it is an important place – your fighting will stop. Why should you fight, which is an unnatural occupation, when you can push?”

“Specialist,” Robert Sheckley


These quotes from celebrated American science fiction writer Robert Sheckley’s 1953 short story “Specialist,” in which a disparate group of aliens from very different intelligent races engage in close “mental Cooperation” on a galactic deep-space cargo ship, may resonate only with long-time fans of science fiction.

But cooperation that involves competing parties and partners with very different profiles is not considered a fantasy in the world of Open Park. On the contrary, the OP project in collaborative journalism that I am developing here at the Center for Future Civic Media, sees non-competitive cooperation among a newsroom’s editorial staff as well as unrelated news organizations as part of the realm of reality.

This reality started in early June with the launch of the initial version of OP’s website –
Following the completion of Phase I of the project this spring – developing the theoretical foundation of Open Park’s practice of networked, non-competitive hyper-local reporting of national and international news and issues – we are getting ready to launch Phase II this fall – implementation through real-life reporting of our case studies by selected journalism students. Their work will take place on the OP platform and will culminate in the elaboration of a Code of Ethics for Collaborative Journalism, which hopefully will bring some professional standards and principles to today’s various hybrid online news models.

But before that, there is a busy summer ahead: coverage of US President Barack Obama’s first visit to Russia for a summit on US-Russia relations on July 6-8, followed by a Roundtable of Russia experts who will tell us their predictions on the two countries’ relationship and advice on US policy towards Russia. Don’t miss the preliminary debate starting in OP’s US-Russia Forum on June 29 at

Right now, Open Park is still dizzy with new ideas collected at the happening and inspiring “The Future of News and Civic Media @ MIT”conference []. The conference came to a close today, but the rich debate it sparked on what’s next in the news industry is continuing in Open Park’s Forums. Pick yours and have your say on what matters to you, the news readers, users, content creators and decision-makers, here at

And whether you are on a once-in-a-lifetime world tour or sunbathing in your backyard this summer, don’t forget to keep up with OP’s progress, news & gossips at ‘Openpark’ on Twitter!