Value Added News Beta Now Live

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We’ve just launched Value Added News – to help anyone producing journalism to mark-up their news articles in a consistent, machine-readable way.
The idea is that by enabling straightforward, consistent mark-up of news articles, it will be easier for people producing journalism to distinguish their articles online (e.g. from commercial or government information), and make searching for those articles quicker and more intelligent.
This isn’t about the subjective stuff, rather about highlighting the who-what-where-when of a news article so that:
  • A journalist, or someone producing journalism, can accurately identify their work on the web
  • A member of the public has more information with which to assess the provenance of an article when they’re looking at it (i.e. who wrote it, when it was first published etc.)
  • A member of the public can search the web using the news mark-up to focus their search
  • News organisations, third party aggregators, and members of the public can use the news metadata to create new ways in which to access and navigate news
We think that better signposting of news on the web will be good for journalists, good for news organisations and good for the public.
Value Added News recommends integrating a new draft news format – built on hAtom – to news articles. This is not to say this is the one and only way to mark-up news – far from it – but we think it’s the easiest, most practical, and most effective way to do it right now. Value Added News is intended to be complementary to, but serves a different purpose than, pre-existing IPTC standards (as we’ve discussed with them in the past).
We have explored, at length, the whole microformat vs RDFa question (see Mark Ng’s comments in the Google group), and you’re welcome to join the discussion in the Value Added News forum.
Based on the pilots – at Associated Press, at openDemocacy.net and elsewhere – and the discussion around the proposal we will develop and evolve it. We’re certainly not fixed about the best way to do this, but are committed to finding the best way. We will also work to make these standards compatible and, as much as possible, complementary to whatever is already out there.
Value Added News should be as useful and as beneficial for a single blogger as for a major news organisation. This is not about big vs little journalism – it’s about distinguishing all journalism on the web.
This project is funded by two grants – one from the MacArthur Foundation and one from the Knight Foundation (we won a Knight News Challenge Award for this last year). It is entirely non-profit and non-proprietary. In other words, we’re not trying to make any money out of this – we just think it’s a Good Thing for journalism.

Written by Martin Moore

July 13th, 2009 at 10:49 am

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