A New News Architecture

Dan Gillmor points to Jeff Jarvis who discusses a recent talk given by Martin Nisenholtz of New York Times Digital and writes:

I’ve been talking lately about using feeds and RSS as a new architecture for the content on my news sites. I can create a town page using feeds of paper headlines, internal and external blog headlines, forum thread heads, weather, classified listings, restaurant specials, video reports…. It’s all just feeds.

It’s more than that, of course. I’ve been thinking about how I’d architect news if I had a clean slate. This gets down even to the level of how you’d write a news story. There’s no longer any need to write in the background; you can link to it. Ditto analysis. There’s no such thing as a deadline or an edition; you add to the story as you find out more. It’s friendlier because it’s briefer and easier to consume. It’s better organized. It’s more informative because it can include reports and photos from witnesses in the audience. It’s more accurate because you can include fact-check-your-ass challenges from readers. It’s more compelling because it includes interactivity. It’s better presented because it can include video or audio or programming, whatever it needs. It’s more responsive because, well, finally the audience can respond.

That’s just the architecture of presentation. That also affects the architecture of storage: Each element — each news post — is identified and linked to related items by the writer and by the audience. And, obviously, this affects the way the news is gathered, by whom, with what.

We too have been thinking about this, and working on an extension to BlogStreet codenamed NINE (New Indian News Ecosystem).

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.