Open innovation in digital journalism: Examining the impact of Open APIs at four news organizations

Tanja Aitamurto, Seth C. Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


This article examines the relative value of open innovation principles for digital media, exemplified by the emergence of Open Application Programming Interfaces (Open APIs) at four news organizations: The New York Times, The Guardian, USA Today and NPR. The use of Open APIs represents a shift toward an open innovation paradigm that may help address twin challenges facing the news industry: the need for improved R&D and the need for new revenue streams. This paper extends the interdisciplinary study of open innovation to digital communication. Findings indicate that the use of Open APIs has accelerated R&D through knowledge-sharing with web developers; generated new means of commercializing content by extending a firm's product portfolio; and forged innovation networks that function as external R&D departments. The article discusses the constant negotiation between openness and control, and open and closed paradigms in journalism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)314-331
Number of pages18
JournalNew Media and Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2013


  • Business models
  • Open APIs
  • R&D
  • digital media industries
  • hackathons
  • innovation networks
  • online journalism
  • open innovation
  • product development
  • services innovation

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