The AP’s Latest Master Plan

It involves adding metadata to content. Yawn. Of course for the plan to work they would have to convince search engines, portals, and any other potential referrer to actually use the metadata, which is always a challenge when the benefits are to the content owner and not the distributor.

Tags identifying the author, publisher and other information – as well as any usage restrictions publishers hope to place on copyright-protected materials – would be packaged with each news article in a way that search engines can more easily identify.

By doing so, the AP hopes to make it easier for readers to find articles from more established news providers amid the ever-expanding pool of content online. That, in turn, could lead to more traffic and more online advertising revenue for a beleaguered news industry.

[From My Way News – AP proposes new article formatting for the Web]

The one thing that I could not help but notice is that the AP in unable to give up the notion that old media is just better than everything else, which is the subtle foundational assumption that they based this plan on… if you know the source of the content is a “credible” news organization then of course you will link to it and/or syndicate it.

On balance I say go for it, the extra metadata attached to content feeds will be useful and if widely adopted they will contribute to a new generation of analytics tools that are able to truly parse authority and influence, which of course will further erode the position that MSM outlets currently hold.

The irony is that there is nothing that prevents them for adding tags to XML data feeds (RSS) today because the way RSS works is that any element (field) not understood is just ignored. It’s really one of the really neat things about how feeds work but it also encourages groundswell movements because their is nothing to stop a consuming application from adopting elements not in the standard… so evolution can occur by merit as well as by proclamation.