(Mis)Uses of Technology

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
data, newspapers, openness

Companies:
la times



It Ain't Easy To Get A Newspaper To Provide Useful Data

from the not-their-thing dept

We've discussed in the past the idea that newspapers today need to get beyond reporting the news and also move towards opening up their data such that others can make that data useful. Newspapers have access to all sorts of interesting and useful data -- but traditionally, they've hoarded it and only used it as a resource for editors and reporters in creating stories. However, by opening up that data to others, it could make those news organizations much more valuable. We're seeing some movement in that direction, and recently noted that the NY Times had come out with an API for the campaign finance data it had.

However, one thing that seems clear is that very few newspapers have the resources necessary to do this on a regular basis. The NY Times (and, to some extent, the Washington Post) seems to be willing to invest in this area, but for many newspapers, the entire concept seems foreign. Writing for OJR, Eric Ulken from the LA Times discusses how much effort it took to get the necessary resources just to build a homicide map to go along with a blog that planned to chronicle every homicide in the LA area. If Ulken's experience is any indication, it seems pretty clear that very, very few traditional news organizations are going to be able to pull this off. They're just not set up to do such things.

It seems increasingly clear that these types of innovations are more likely to come from newer news organizations who actually recognize the value of data in addition to straight reporting, and the concept of openness compared to being a gatekeeper.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. identicon
    SpinLock, 26 Nov 2008 @ 2:10pm

    I worked at the AP

    I worked at the AP for 7 years. Now I'm working for a Canadian news agency. The truth of the matter is that most of the data a news organization uses to produce their stories has been purchased from a 3rd-party data provider. That purchase includes a license, and that license usually does NOT include giving away that data to everyone who wants it. If the NY Times or the AP wants to provide open access to raw data they've purchased elsewhere, they're going to have to license it that way, and pay top dollar for such a license.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Techdirt Logo Gear
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.