One of the first things you learn about investigative journalism is that the most important stories the world needs to know, the ones you want to write, are the last thing any publisher wants to touch. In the bad old days, that meant those stories wouldn’t be written because they would not be seen, and of course you would not get paid. The internet changed that. Now you had an audience even if it meant you had to write for free. All writers should be paid. It’s not fun being broke. But all writers have a civic responsibility that trumps personal gain. That means covering stories the corporate media will never touch because they threaten the establishment, or because those stories condemn them.
The internet became one way to get around the self-serving and self-censoring model of the corporate media. Now let’s talk about open-source journalism.
“Open source” comes from a programming term where we get free software. Virtually the entire web runs on software that countless developers worked on for free: Linux. If Microsoft had its way, and Bill Gates had won, you’d have to pay the asshole to run the server software (Apache) that runs a website, and pay him anything he wants. When the donkey dicks at SCO tried to sue IBM for $1 billion by saying it had infringed on their UNIX copyright they wanted pretty much the same thing: the end result would be that Linux end-users, virtually every web host, would have to pay them licensing fees. Naturally, Microsoft was backing SCO financially in the maneuver. There was never anything close to infringement, however. SCO’s subsequent bankruptcy was one of the biggest free-speech and internet victories ever. Microsoft’s answer to Apache, IIS is not free and so unpopular that even while SCO and Microsoft were fighting to take down Linux, some of Microsoft’s own websites were running Apache. The point is, the next time you visit a website, you are very, very likely seeing a website that is running Apache software and that is there because of open source programming. Same thing with the Android operating system that runs your smart phone and tablet, browsers like Chrome and Firefox, software suites like Open Office, and just about any Linux operating system out there. Because Android is Linux-based, and thus exists because SCO lost, could you imagine having to use a smart phone that operates on Windows? That’s the blue-screen-of-death nightmare we could’ve faced: a shitty OS (operating system) that we not only had to pay a ransom for, but had to reformat or reinstall every few months.
With open-source journalism you don’t develop software you develop a story. Like software evolves, so does a story. Like software it either corrects itself or fails. Since everyone can download and read the code, errors can be spotted and corrected, and improvements can be made. What is essential, though, is that the code is copied and downloaded for review, correction, and improvement. Likewise, the same thing goes when we are dealing with an important story. Copy it. Share it. Build on it. The objective is awareness, not profit. There can never be any change without such awareness. This entire website, for instance, is copied at impiousdigest.com, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. (Even if I have to copy myself.)
In short, that means I want you to copy this shit, add on to it or improve it. Just don’t be a dick and say you wrote it and not cite the source. You will get caught and you will look like a total fucking dick. Most of the stories at The Impious Digest are licensed under Creative Commons, more of which you can learn about here.