March 1, 2007

Open Source's Shiny New MacArthur Grant

Open Source's Shiny New MacArthur Grant

Our MacArthur grant letter

The best letters start like this.

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, in all its wisdom, has seen fit to award us $250,000 “in support of the innovative use of internet-based tools in the production of a daily public radio program.”

This is very good news.

It means that we can start an aggressive campaign to improve the creaky, duct-taped infrastructure of the site. It means we can continue to pay Greta for the work she does with our community, and Greta is worth every penny. More important, the letter we got in the mail this week — the best parts are reproduced above — serves as a nice confirmation of what we’re doing.

I spent a lot of time at the Integrated Media Conference in Boston last week answering questions from public radio people about what we do. MacArthur has decided to support us for the same reason; we’re developing tools at Open Source that are going to be useful in the future to a lot of people. People in public radio, people in public television, people tiptoeing toward that fantastic beast we’re beginning to call “public media.”

So expect a lot of development activity in the next two or three months. If you care about the structure of the community, by all means keep letting us know what improvements you’re looking for.

And thank you. Thank you, to the more than 4,000 of you registered on the site; who show up on the comment threads every night; who take the time to pitch us the show ideas we’ve been getting better and better about producing; and who care enough to email me (brendan radioopensource org) with suggestions on how to make the site better. You are our story. You are the success we pointed to when we went to MacArthur for support.

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