Archive for the ‘ Commentary ’ Category

Closing Remarks

As this project comes to a close, what I’ve learned about organizing and presenting news items using a common language like XML has reinforced what I discovered last semester about online content. Most of these discoveries distill down to this bit of advice:

Media companies, don’t EVER trash your content.

At one point in my career, I contributed an article to the publication I was working for at the time. Nothing fancy, just an interview with an international artist. The publication killed the story, and I never saw it again. I’d publish the story online myself, but the article still legally belongs to the publication. After all, I would not have scored the exclusive interview I needed for it without their help. I don’t think the publication should publish it or post it online to protect my feelings, though that might become a concern with a bigger-egoed writers. I don’t care either way. This article, however, took me weeks of research and use of the publication’s resources to write, and because it didn’t fit the format they were looking for—and frankly because another more seasoned writer had a better article on a similar story—the publication scrapped it. Continue reading

API development sheds light on a new workflow

Making a stand-alone scraper and XML readers seems to be the vogue nowadays. I met news API developer for The New York Times Derek Willis last week, and he brought up the good point that many online developers working in journalism had to use APIs and other querying services for their own publications because they are usually not given admin access to the publication’s electronic database.

Like Derek, I want to help journalists solve redundancies within their information gathering and distribution models. All of the hard data that many of my hard-working colleagues gather (i.e. names, ages, dates, etc.) should be stored at the most granular level within a relational or hierarchical database should be easily reused and accessible to everyone, not just journalists. Practical sorting of individual articles, i.e. by relevance, relies on an article’s meta-data, the most accurate of which is derived from the article’s most minor elements. Continue reading

The death of chronology — the rise of relevance

This my rationale behind Parallactic Drift. It is excerpted from an essay I wrote for my New Media Business class last semester:

Most print publications and other traditional media organize their information by chronology, by dates of publication. When these publications were merely print and broadcast, this model made sense since no one other than researchers and journalists would access this information in libraries or morgues (where a publication keeps old, cataloged print issues).

Today, chronology no longer dictates what events and news coverage matters most. In his essay “Death of the Story,” (found within The Future of Journalism) BBC Radio 4 Editor Kevin Marsh articulates this point in respect to how news stories were traditionally constructed. “The web is enabling our former audiences to come to their news in their ways at their times,” Marsh says. As information of world events become more freely available to consumers online, web users have decentralized print publications’ system of deadlines and publication time have, and with it the fixed news cycle to which many traditional news sources still adhere. Continue reading