Tools that Open Source provides to journalism and investigation

Taking into account the celebration of World Press Freedom Day today, May 3rd 2019, the team at Open Expo Europe would like to contribute with this post in regards to the Open Source subject by highlighting how it can speed up the investigations of journalists, contributing to an improvement of freedom of the expression in the media.

Have a look at this useful Open Source tools for investigative journalism:

  1. Newscoop 4.

Newscoop 4 is an open source content manager (CMS) designed to facilitate and streamline workflows in newsrooms. This platform allows to store media and metadata, getting a good visual content to the articles of the journalists and create presentations in slides with a single click.

On the other hand, it has a read-only API that retrieves, organises and disseminates the content, an intelligent search option Solr, highlight themes and personalize the readers’ experience in terms of content and advertising, among other things.

The application allows you to start using a demo to show users its effectiveness and also leaves a manual for its use on its website.

Here is the link to their code on GitHub.

  1. The Living Library – Crowdcrafting.

It is an international project that emerged during the Hackathon of Cape Town (2011) that aims for a collective science. It is a platform for Open Source citizen science projects (PyBossa) accessible to all citizens and carried out by volunteers.

Its main objective is that there is citizen participation, by contributing to scientific projects promoted by other citizens, by professionals or institutions that need help analysing data, completing tasks or solving problems.

The themes covered by the platform are several such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Open Data, Open Innovation, civic technology and Blockchain, among others.

In a nutshell, it is a different project because it is 100% open source, based on volunteers and not on micro payments.

  1. Census Reporter.

Census Reporter is a project funded by Knight News Challenge that facilitates the access of data to the United States Census to journalists. In this way, you can access data to help build and complete the news such as child poverty in certain areas, the racial composition of the different states and the number of people in a specific territory that has university studies.

The platform reduces the time spent in obtaining this data, which helps journalists to complete their information with reliable data that, in addition, add value to them. Therefore, investigative journalism and data journalism is promoted.

Being an open source tool, here is the link to the code.


It is an alternative that allows finding duplicate data in databases and spreadsheets. The application can learn a set of rules to reduce comparisons between similar records, which allows the revision of millions of records.

You can find his code here.

  1. Superdesk.

Superdesk is a writing platform created by journalists for journalists. It allows content to be obtained, managed, verified and presented in a different way. Likewise, it allows the content to be transmitted from any available means, saving time and money and, therefore, helping the media by spending less resources.

The objective of the project is to streamline collaborative writing based on Open Source information.

Here is the link to the code.

  1. Airtime

It is an open source platform for online radios that has an intelligent automation system, DJ management and transitions without interruption between live audio transmission and scheduled content, which allows you to stay “on air” whether the program has one person only or if it is a more complex one.

The programming calendar is managed through a very easy web interface that plays the audio “with sub-second accuracy in effects like ‘fading'”.

Here is the link to the code so you can access.

  1. Document Cloud

It is an open source tool for journalists to publish documents from primary sources, as it provides a catalog of original documents contributed by journalists and researchers.

Users of the platform can attach whole documents or parts of them through the Document Cloud Pages.

You can find the link to the code here.

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