I have previously introduced the idea of opening up the tools of journalism to ordinary users through the web. I have also talked about ways of using semantic relationships when browsing the news. I descibe the whole concept as a news ecosystem, the idea being that it can grow beyond the borders of it’s domain, sinking it’s roots into social networking and the blogosphere and driving traffic through those roots.
The problem I have with this oncept is that it’s a big, sprawling, amorphous dollop of ideas. When I try to reduce it to its Minimum Viable Awesome, I find no backbone supporting the whole. Each individual part is rather trivial in its own right.
So I’ve looked again at the individual parts and tried to think about what they mean to the end user.
This is the semantically enhanced textbox basically. Actually, the term covers the full suite of tools necessary for a person to turn journalism into news. I don’t entirely know what that is yet, and it probably varies from newsroom to newsroom. What’s important here is that we add semantic tools to existing publishing tools.
This is the system which takes a reference point such as an article and uses the semantic network to find further articles from all over the web, which may be of interest to the user.
This is the interface for users to assert their interests and pass judgement over any and all content. It is the source of the semantic data that drives the browsing interface. It ties in with social networking to spread the virus of news.
For me, the most radical element is Browsing. The other parts are there to support that. It’s all about enabling the user to discover the story for themselves. Discovery turns out to be the central theme of this project. But, while that may be the backbone of the project, the browser is still useless without the semantic data. It needs the associated tools to drive the creation of that data. That data needs, at the very least, to be the primary mechanism by which content on the news site is organised. And by using open standards (RDFa, Dublin Core, rNews, CC REL, anything #MozNewsLab might produce) we prepare ourselves to accept further content from other sites into the network.
So there it is, easy as ABC. Except Authoring and Curation aren’t exactly user friendly terms. To put it in marketing speak, it’s Create, Explore, Share. That’s a nice slogan (good enough for Sony, in fact), but to sum it up in one word: Discovery (or Discoverer or Discover or whatever existing trademarks allow for.)