Open APIs and News Organizations

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  • Aitamurto, Tanja, & Lewis, Seth C. (2011). Open APIs and news organizations: A study of open

innovation in online journalism. Paper presented at the International Symposium on Online Journalism, Austin, TX, April 1, 2011.

URL = http://developer.mimeo.com/mcp-widgets/widgets/upload/_Open_APIs_and_News_Organizations-_A_Study_of_Open_Innovation_in_Online_Journalism.pdf

Abstract

"This paper examines how and why news organizations are deploying open Application Programming Interfaces (so-called “open APIs”) as part of their online strategy, connecting this phenomenon with the “open innovation” paradigm (Chesbrough, 2003) popular in the business management and technology literature. Up to now, the news industry has both under-funded R&D efforts and underappreciated the wisdom of external ideas. But this is beginning to change, as some major news organizations—including four studied here: the Guardian, The New York Times, USA Today, and National Public Radio—have deployed publicly available APIs, which can be seen as the first manifestation of open innovation in the news industry. Through qualitative interviews with key developers, we examine the nature of this phenomenon: the relative motivations, benefits, and challenges associated with using open APIs in the context of online news. Our findings offer a fresh perspective on the business strategy and the process of innovation, both for news organizations and the profession broadly."