The Associated Press and the Media Standards Trust (never heard of them) have proposed a new standard for metadata for news.
Depending on its use and intent, I think it’s a good idea to add more data to news. We all should add into the standard, though, or else it will come from the perspective of big news organizations (whose motive, as is obvious from their “standard,” as as much protection as it is enhancement).
I’ve long argued that we need to operate under an ethic of linking to journalism at its source, for in the link economy, value comes with links, the recipient of the links is the one to take advantage of that value, so to support reporting, we must link to reporting (over rewrites, whether those are from blogs or the Associated Press). So that’s one thing I’d like to add to the standard: “original reporting here.” Yes, that could be gamed, but in a limited population of news sources – at the aggregators of GoogleNews, Daylife, The New York Times, or HuffingtonPost – it would not be hard to police against the gamers.
More: We at CUNY are working with Nokia on assignment software that will wrap metadata around a story from the inception (‘there’s a fire on Main Street, who wants to cover it?’) through to its reporting (this text, photo, audio, or video was captured by this person at this place at this time on this data). Many elements of a story can come together (imagine the collaborative, real-time news produced using Google Wave), each element with data about its provenance. When you think beyond the article as the atomic element of journalism, then you’ll want to incorporate metadata into the heart of reporting as it comes out in an article, a blog, a wiki, a topic page, a whatever.
I would like there to be a standard for adding corrections to work, which could, in turn, enable readers (and linkers) to subscribe to updates.
I’d like to see metadata include links to source material – footnotes – that continues the notion of the provenance of the information within. This could also include footnotes about the author: links to her page, her feed, her identity, how to communicate with her.
Would we want to add traffic data to news (show me the most popular version of this story?).
Tags would be wonderful, of course.
Geo data about the gathering, creation, use, subject, and authorship of the news would be valuable in so many ways.
What else? What other metadata, when it’s offered, would enhance search, would add value to the content, would enhance information about its source and thus its credibility? If a standard is to be a standard, both the creators and users of content (and by users, I mean not just the people formerly known as the readers but also technologists and their algorithms) must add to it and it must be a living beast. Whether it’s this effort (here’s its Google Group) or another effort, join in.