Knight Blog

The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

hNews: A better way to consume digital news

Jan. 7, 2010, 11:30 a.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

How great would it be for web sites to'let us know when'news'stories we've been following have been updated or corrected? How about also seeing'a box of information explaining the type of sourcing used within the story, as well as a link to the organization's'editorial'standards?

According to an article released by the Columbia Journalism Review, hNews is trying to make all of these features possible.

hNews is a microformat for news being developed by the Media Standards Trust and the Web Science Research Initiative. It is also a winner of last year's Knight News Challenge grant.

For an example of how this would work, take a look at this article. Scroll down to the bottom of the text and place the cursor over the blue box labeled 'Value Added.' A small box of text will pop up that lists the article title, author, date, published and the last date the article was updated. This information is automatically generated, thanks to hNews.'

The goal of hNews is to:

Design a way for content creators to add information on their sources to their reports, as a form of 'source tagging.' For instance, a reporter could note that an article was based on personal observations, interview with eyewitnesses or specific, original documents. Filters would then use this data ' the 'story behind the story' ' to help find high-quality articles. A reader searching the phrase 'Pakistan riots' for example, might find 9,000 articles. But filtering by 'eyewitness accounts' would yield a more selective list.

Currently, the Associated Press and AOL are encoding articles using hNews.


hNews is hoping to bring more transparency to news. Its features will provide people with the back story of an article they're reading.

Visit the CJR Web site to read the complete story on hNews.

--'Marly Falcon, Knight Foundation contributing blogger