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Monday, February 09, 2009

Evolution Of A New Digital Newspaper Industry

Courtesy of Techmeme,I saw this nice piece by Mathew Ingram on the Times move to make their digitial presence as a platform, extensible via API’s. Basically the NYT team has accumulated quite a few blocks/articles over the last 28 years — all of them tagged and labeled. This means programmers can now easily access 2.8 million news articles starting from 1981 and more importantly thanks to the great effort of the Times team - sort them based on 28 different tags, keywords and fields. The richness of the data and its organization looks mind-boggling – Derek Gottfrid claims that the Times articles can be searched using the 35 searchable fields Content is data at its core –properly parsed and efficiently indexed content can be made available in various formats and can be put to a variety of use. The newspaper industry is reeling under call kinds of pressures. There are calls for bailout of the industry! The Times initiative is indeed a pioneering one. At a time when there is a widely held view about the demise of the newspaper industry, pioneers show how by embracing instead of resisting the technology change, they can retain their pioneer status. Clearly the newspaper industry’s problems are similar in nature to that of the music industry’s challenges before Apple i-Pod days. The thought of buying a complete album looks outdated in this i-Pod age where once can safely buy good songs at much reduced prices. This forced the music industry in large measures to transform their business model around iPod/MySpace. The print media needs to look at similar moves and the NYT move is commendable – for its vision and execution. Clearly this will pave the way for the evolution of a new future for digital newspaper industry.

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