The Hackable Guardian

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These guys are are thinking in the right direction.

The Guardian launched what it is calling its Open Platform, a set of content APIs and a collection of datasets.

Matt McAlister, head of the Guardian Developer Network, said that the Open Platform was a suite of data and services to allow people to build applications with Guardian content.

Why is this type of service important? It makes their data, which they collect through journalism, available to others to “mash up” as they please. Imagine a blogger not just linking to a story and writing a post centered on it, but developing an application that automatically pulls in articles related to a single story and constructs a timeline with a navigation menu. Imagine this application being able to branch off to related stories and their timelines by zip code, subject matter, or writer. Imagine being able to arrange these timelines on a single screen to get a visual time representation of events from these separate stories.

Just one idea, but it’s one I’d bet someone is already planning. Imagine all the other clever ideas people will have to make journalism more interactive and personalized. The Guardian is positioning itself to be in the center of all this activity–the original source of data.

Initially, the Guardian looks at this as a way to spread its content and build an ‘eco-system’ around its content. But obvioiusly, there is the hope with the as yet to be built ad network that it will also develop new revenue.

And there would be the catch for those doing the mashing–“you can use our data, but you have to show our ads”. Brilliant.

Sorry.  I geek out over data analysis (as if you haven’t noticed) so this is a very exciting idea to me. But if you’re a journalist who is wondering how management may be able to build a business model around your hard work, this is a step outside the box.

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