We've won a Knight Foundation News Award

with 5 comments

I can now explain why I’m in Las Vegas (and it’s not so I can enjoy the biggest seafood buffet in the US at this, the Rio, hotel – in a city that’s an hours flight away from the sea). Up till now we’ve been told we can’t talk about why we’re here.

We (we being the Media Standards Trust and the Web Science Research initiative) have won an award from the Knight Foundation to fund our joint transparency initiative. The Foundation has given us a grant of $350,000 (about £175,00) to develop ways to enable journalists – and people producing journalism – to add information to their articles online so the public can search for them more intelligently and, when they find them, assess them more fairly and consistently.

The project hopes to start to address the growing issue of how, given the astonishing accumulation of information on the web, people can distinguish journalism from commercial content, from government information, from personal posts etc. It will do this by developing the tools that allow journalists, news organisations, and those producing journalism (i.e. bloggers too!) to highlight basic factual information about their articles (or, to use that wonderful word ‘metadata’).

Information like, for example: that it is intended to be journalism, who it is written by, who it is written on behalf of, when it was first published, when it was last updated…. Once this has been highlighted it then becomes much much easier to enable people to search for it.

This is NOT about telling people what’s a good article or a bad article. It is NOT going to enable people to tell truth from falsehood. It is not about protecting ‘mainstream media’. Nor will it predict the winner of the 2010 election.

What it will do, we hope, is start a process in which journalists and news organisations become more transparent about their work and more consistent in describing it – to the mutual benefit of the journalists themselves and the public.

It’s non-profit, it will all be open source, and it’ll be evolutionary. We want to encourage as much flexibility and decentralised development as possible. We don’t yet know what information would be most useful to capture or indeed the best way to capture it (though we’ve got some ideas). So we’ll be documenting what we do and putting it online for people to comment on, use, adapt, develop etc.

If you have any questions about it you’re welcome to email me at martin.moore@mediastandardstrust.org and I’ll get back to you once I escape this bizarre town in the middle of the Nevada desert.

Written by Martin Moore

May 15th, 2008 at 4:58 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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5 Responses to 'We've won a Knight Foundation News Award'

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  1. re: “What it will do, we hope, is start a process in which journalists and news organisations become more transparent about their work and more consistent in describing it – to the mutual benefit of the journalists themselves and the public.”Congratulations. Surely you’ve looked into the Genre classifications of both PRISM and NewsML? I recently compared them– and I’ve been asking numerous stakeholders why there isn’t more overlap.

    Jon Garfunkel

    16 May 08 at 5:55 am

  2. It would be great to chat about this Jon – I’ve looked at NewsML quite a lot, much less so at PRISM – so it would be good to get your thoughts

    Martin Moore

    16 May 08 at 6:30 pm

  3. Martin Rocks…Also: Jon does too.You two should talk.

    DigiDave

    16 May 08 at 9:56 pm

  4. Hi Martin, You say you have studied NewsML: did you look at the new generation of the standard, NewsML-G2? We have put there a lot of attention at what you are working on: a set of SemWeb compatible metadata that can be assigned to any kind of news (an RDF variant would be easy to draw).

    Laurent

    17 May 08 at 8:10 am

  5. Laurent – please do drop me an email (martin.moore@mediastandardstrust.org) and we can talk about this

    Martin Moore

    20 May 08 at 1:03 pm

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