The French data journalism site OWNI has launched its first English-language site,

The launch is the latest in a series of new verticals for OWNI, which was founded in March 2009 as a non-profit digital media and technology news site.

OWNI's sites, which are operated by French startup 22mars SAS, are supported by a profit-making arm of the business that develops open source publishing platforms and technologies for other media groups.

The English site currently features a mixture of blog aggregation, original articles, infographics and data visualisations, and some pieces in translation from the

Speaking to, Federica Cocco, editor of the new English-language site, said OWNI is an opportunity to develop new ideas and new products, an appealing environment to work in for any journalist.

"First of all we want to encourage bloggers from all across Europe to contribute to the site. We're going to scout for not just Creative Commons content, but original content from authors, who perhaps because of the economic environment are not encouraged to write for other websites in their own countries, so we want to provide a refuge for them," said Cocco.

"Another of our goals is to campaign for freedom of information online and open source ... We want to be a role model for other websites. Eventually we plan to expand even more - it's going to be a proper alien invasion."

Cocco, 25, joined OWNI as a full-time staffer in October, having previously freelanced for the site. will support OWNI's existing campaign efforts, against threats to freedom of expression such as the proposed Italian gag law, but will also help promote new young talent, she said.

OWNI has also launched sites covering science and music and last month produced a website and news application for WikiLeaks release of the Iraq war logs. It is seeking fresh funding of between €1 million-€1.5 million from French and international investors to support further expansion and plans to launch on the iPad.

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