In 2011, the Guardian launched its local messaging bulletin: n0tice. Although the platform encouraged open journalism, the Guardian has expanded the effort with the launch the n0tice API last week. The very premise of n0tice offers value from a locality perspective. With the open API, the value of the local bulletin can be integrated with any developer’s application.
Perhaps the most intriguing integration of the API thus far lies in tracking the Olympic torch route to London for the 2012 Olympic Games. The Guardian itself is tracking the route with the n0tice API. As the torch makes its way to London, n0tice users are able to post pictures and text messages that the Guardian automatically adds to its news feed.
Matt McAllister, the Guardian’s director of digital strategy, commented: “It feels like we’re sitting on this huge bundle of potential and it’s just a matter of continuing to execute.” A Wordpress plugin already allows developers to create curations (Wordpress sites can display content from the Guardian’s n0tice community platform). FormbyFirst, a local site reporting on happenings in Formby, encourages users to post upcoming local events. In turn, FormbyFirst pulls five events from the API and feeds them to the FormbyFirst homepage.
The Guardian promotes the open API as an “open journalism toolkit.” Indeed the potential for open journalism is enhanced by allowing feet on the street, local users to post news. However, the integration potential is unlimited. Any app, site, or feed that can enhance its user experience with local data can benefit from the API. In its prototype platform launched last year, n0tice already adopted an international audience. Now that the functionality has been expanded via an open API, we could see a viral spread across the globe.