The Importance of APIs in Journalism Right Now
Journalists don't just need to be plugged into to major platform channels — they also need to be able to conduct research using these platform APIs.
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APIs are playing an increasing role in all aspects of our public life. Our current president has set the precedent that he will be using Twitter as a primary communication channel, cutting off traditional media and other channels and amplifying the importance of the Twitter API when it comes to doing your job as a journalist.
Journalists don't just need to be plugged into to major platform channels like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and others — they also need to be able to conduct research using these platform APIs. Journalists should be fluent in the synchronous and asynchronous pulling of social media and other data via leading APIs. Whether it's pulled through custom programming or using existing tools and services, successful journalists will have a robust toolbox for meeting their needs in this area.
Inversely, it will be increasingly important that API platforms consider journalists' access to APIs and consider crafting specific service composition, rate limits, and plans for this level of access. Platforms should also be investing in and incentivizing their third-party developers to help develop tooling that aids journalists in their work. Ideally, these solutions would be open source or at least think deeply about monetization strategies in the context of access in support of these activities.
The current political climate should remind us in the API sector that APIs are not just about developing the next generation of startup applications but are also about enabling end-users as well as power users like journalists. If you need help thinking through journalist access to a platform, feel free to reach out. I'm happy to help you think through this level of access from onboarding to rate limits and the design of your APIs. This stuff is important, and I'm happy to help.
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