How the Semantic Web is Changing the Role of the Journalist


David Amerland of recently wrote, "The true effect of any change is measured by the depth of its impact rather than its scale. When it comes to semantic search and the semantic web however, both depth and scale become important. Google has famously announced that semantic search is the transition of search and the web from 'strings to things' and 'websites to people' respectively.  To quantify this change, consider that the web is being transformed from a place where anonymity and unaccountability were virtually synonymous and practically guaranteed, to a place where trust, authority and reputation are the only attributes that really matter."

Amerland continues, "You may want to argue here that as far as journalism and journalists were concerned these are attributes that have always been in play and yes, offline this is certainly the case. It did not, however, carry well to the digital realm. Certainly, star players have always been sought after because the quality of their writing has always carried weight, but good writing is (still) easy to find and a journalist's reach and impact was always achieved through the power of the platform they were on."

He adds, "While news organisations are still struggling to come to terms with Google and its disproportionate, in their view, ability to help their content be found, the search giant's launch of semantic search, essentially a transformation of the largely unstructured data that's found on the web into highly structured data inside its search index, is changing the way we consume information. Instead of the familiar 'ten little blue links' that were graded in terms of statistical probability in being the answer to a search query, it now serves results that are either an outright answer or simply lead to one."

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Image: Courtesy Flickr/ Yan Arief