The Kurosawa classic, Seven Samurai, focuses on the plight of simple farmers in medieval Japan, subject to merciless raids by unscrupulous bandits. They seek advice from the village elder, who instructs them that only a samurai can save them. They ask what kind of samurai works for nothing but rice. The elder replies,
“Find hungry samurai. Even bears come down from the mountains when they’re hungry.”
Flash forward to the early 21st century. The village is a global collective of would-be intellectuals, roaming various bizarre sections of this filthy earth, blogging furiously.
Like the terrified filthy villagers from Seven Samurai, we seek the protection of hardened professional grade (digital) warriors, without pretending we have the resources to properly reward them.
Unlike the villagers, we have no actual food to offer. Our hope is that this appeal reaches the right digital bear samurai out there, one who is hungry for the rice of truth and justice, served with the chili of changing the world and the sake of owning a stake in the world’s most revolutionary media organization.
ImportantCool is a media collective formed with the aim of changing media practices forever, creating and implementing the tools for a new transparent, democratic journalistic practice. However, so far we are overwhelmingly composed of journalists, rather than coders.
We need coders. We really need coders.
What do we need you for?
We seek to create two interlocking journalistic tools that will change the way news is produced and consumed. We know everyone is talking like this nowadays, but we’ve got ideas that go beyond the buzzwords, and build on the most exciting trends already occurring as media goes online.
Perhaps I should be more specific. The tools we seek to create are:
Transparent journalism software – GoGonzo
As we’ve written elsewhere on the site:
GoGonzo will be an open-source application that will allow anyone to seamlessly organize and record the source materials and extended content for a story in real time, whether recording audio interviews or taking video of a newsworthy event. It will also allow the end consumer to go review and rate the quality of the research done, with these ratings made visible to the general public, rewarding journalists who do the leg work and punishing those who fudge it. We are looking to build a team of coders who will work with the the head of concept and strategy development to implement the values ImportantCool embodies through an intuitive app that will allow anyone to partake in a transparent journalistic process.
Participatory Editorial Budgets – The Engine Room
The Engine Room will be a digital space where patrons and journalists meet to discuss the stories that will be funded. We’ve worked on its conceptual development for the past two years and now we are ready to build this platform. We’re looking to put together a team of web developers to create and maintain this platform. Our current head of web development is looking forward to collaborating with a team to construct this space that will allow patrons and journalists to engage in the entire timeline of a story, from pitching to publishing.
We Also Said
Our team of coders and programmers will redefine the terrain of media consumption and dissemination. If you are interested in being part of that please send a brief (no longer than 1 page) cover letter addressing the needs of the aforementioned projects along with examples of projects you have been part of. We are looking to add to this project a team of passionate people who want to reconstruct the world of media and journalism.
ImportantCool is an association controlled democratically by all its members. If your petition to join is accepted you will become one of the decision makers, with a permanent stake in the organization.
Essentially, as journalists, we know what we want from these new tools, and how they can help us deliver a whole new experience for the end users, finally coming good on the endless promises of a media transformed by the Internet. But with our current technical team (really journos/bloggers/activists/whatevers with some basic tech knowledge) busy just keeping us online, and the rest of us sitting awkwardly at our keyboards typing with our index fingers, we just don’t quite know how to get the damn thing built.
For far too long the Internet has been thought of as a new delivery mechanism for old journalistic formats. ImportantCool was founded to go beyond this and use the interwebs as a new interactive and transparent journalistic medium that will in turn demand a newly accountable workflow on the part of the journalists.
If these ideas interest you, contact us at [email protected] so we can talk further. You can also read more about our underlying philosophy here and the modest progress we’ve made so far in implementing it here.