Holovaty on Need for Raw Data

Adrian Holovaty has cornered the geek-journalist market. Today, he picks up on 9 Ways for Newspapers to Improve Their Websites and identifies the oppotunties that journalists are missing.

Fundamental shifts need to happen for newspaper companies to remain essential sources of information for their communities…[W]hat I really want to be able to do is explore the raw facts of that story, one by one, with layers of attribution, and an infrastructure for comparing the details of [a story]..
when I’ve tried to explain the error of storing everything as a news article, journalists don’t immediately understand why it is bad. To them, a publishing system is just a means to an end: getting information out to the public…The goal isn’t to have clean data — it’s to publish data quickly, with bonus points for a nice user interface. But the goal for me, a data person focused more on the long term, is to store information in the most valuable format possible.

Jay Small adds that real change won’t happen until the “legacy media” dam breaks:

none of those tipping points will be reached until (a) consumer audiences and (b) advertising dollars abandon the legacy media en masse. We’re seeing interactive audience growth, and ad spending growth, but it’s only chipping away at the legacy media. The dam is holding for now. And that’s slowing the pace of needed changes such as what Holovaty suggests.


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