Posts Tagged ‘ API ’

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

Similar site using Google Maps API

It just occurred to me that the presentation I explained in my previous post can be seen in another news aggregation site. News Facet uses the Google Maps API and meta-data obtained by OpenCalais to display stories by overlapping categories on a world map. News Facet’s uses color-coded transparencies for its story locations more for aesthetic rather than the functional reasons I outlined as a possibility for Parallactic Drift.

News Facet’s project also differs from mine since the developers of the site opted to display the most recent stories, only going back as far as 30 hours. With Parallactic Drift, I want to bring focus to even older stories, since access those stories can only grow over time and a well-constructed and well-presented XML framework that groups these stories by different relevance factors will promote their accessibility to online users.

Still, News Facet has a sharp and organized design that takes advantage of many different free APIs available online. I encourage anybody who wants a better idea of what I want this project to look like to check out NewsFacet.com.