News Industry R&D with Open APIs

There is an excellent analysis of Open API usage in news organizations at the Nieman Journalism Lab, called Wisdom of the (developer) crowd: Key lessons from news organizations using open APIs to ramp up R&D.

This analysis is a summary of a paper bySeth Lewis, professor at University of Minnesota, and Tanja Aitamurto, a Finish PH.D student at Stanford, that was presented at the International Symposium on Online Journalism earlier this month.

After studying the approaches of the four biggest players with open APIs are NPR, The New York Times, The Guardian, and USA Today, Lewis and Aitamurto came away with five key lessons:

  • Open APIs can serve as external R&D labs
  • Open APIs present a revenue opportunity
  • Open APIs help weave news organizations into the fabric of the web
  • Open APIs create an ecosystem effect
  • Open APIs can be a challenge, especially within the news organization
Lewis and Aitamurto conclude that Open APIs are not the solution to all of the news industries problems, but they are significant step toward a form of online publishing that is in sync with the web, and also allow publishers to take advantage of thewisdomof the (developer) crowd for research & development.

These new approaches offer a first glimpse of what open innovation using APIs could bring to the news business when it comes to revenue and partnerships.

You can read the full article at Nieman Journalism Lab, and read the full paper by Lewis and Aitamurto, Open APIs and News Organizations: A Study of Open Innovation in Online Journalism.