Asking questions of readers and managing their answers will soon be easier for publishers of all sizes thanks to Ask, a new open-source software application that’s being developed by The Coral Project, a collaboration between The Washington Post, The New York Times, and Mozilla, funded by a grant from the Knight Foundation.


By using Ask’s simple drag-and-drop interface, a reporter or editor can solicit feedback or personal stories from readers. Ask then gives publishers simple tools to choose reader contributions to highlight, then manage a gallery of contributions that can be placed on its own web page or embedded along with an article.

Ask is still in development, but an early version of the software was presented today at the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers’ World News Congress in Cartagena, Colombia, by Greg Barber, The Post’s director of digital news projects.

The application will be available for news organizations to test in July.

Ask is one of three software applications The Coral Project will develop during its two-year grant period, which is scheduled to run until June 30, 2017. The first, Trust, is in closed beta. The third, Talk, is in the early stages of development. The three applications — all developed as open-source software — will be available separately or as a suite.