News is still the number one source of information for organizations to stay informed about their market and their competitors, even though there is no dearth of information on the internet. The reason behind this is the fact that thanks to digital news publications, millions of articles are published every minute, on every topic one would need to know about. However, organizations don’t need all the information they can get, as some people might believe. Organizations need relevant, actionable information that can help them inform and improve their business decisions. Manually tracking multiple news sources can not only be exhausting, but practically impossible, owing to the ever-increasing amount of information on the internet. Also, how would you filter out noise-free, actionable information from millions of news sources online? It is for this reason that a news API, also known as a news feed API, is critical for organizations in present times.
News APIs allow you to connect your applications with multiple online news sources, enabling you to track, analyze, and enrich obtained data to serve various use cases as per your business requirements. This noise-free, industry-relevant news is then delivered to you via Rest API, RSS feeds and/or webhooks. However, there are a number of distinct news APIs in the market. Some are specialized news feed APIs that offer news only on a particular industry, some only track and present data without enriching it, while some may not even parse or structure your data. Choosing a news API thus, shouldn’t be a rushed decision, but something that should be done after understanding your organization’s needs and use-case. In this article, let us understand a bit more about news feed APIs, how they work, and which mistakes you need to avoid while choosing a news feed API.
How is data collected by a news API?
IMG Alt: Data Collected by a News API
Well, each news API may have different functionalities. But generally, news APIs work by scraping relevant text from news websites, as well as the blogs and articles in them. A news feed API provides programmatic access to news articles from multiple news websites and parses it to extract the news data, text and metadata. This is then delivered in JSON format, which can be integrated into your applications, allowing you to easily stream data feed from news sources worldwide.
However, as mentioned before, there are different types of news feed APIs. Fundamental (or simple) news APIs can only scrape basic data like headlines, snippets, date of publishing of the article and the author’s name. Advanced news feed APIs utilize AI-based methods like Natural Language Processing (NLP) as well as Machine Learning (ML) to tag contextual meta-data to news articles. They can recognize categories, sentiments, topics, persons, dates, events, and more to help users discover news headlines and snippets relevant to their use-case.
Thus, for organizations that are looking to aggregate and analyze the data to derive insights, an advanced news feed API would be a better choice. For organizations that just want to present news on their website or application, a simple news API would suffice. Let us now further understand the things an organization needs to keep in mind when choosing a news API, and the mistakes they need to avoid.
Things to keep in mind while selecting a news feed API
Choosing the right news feed API mainly depends upon an organization’s use case, i.e. what do they wish to achieve through their news API. This is the primary point which organizations need to stick to when examining or evaluating various news APIs. Now let us look at what NOT to do.
- Choosing a news API that isn’t comprehensive enough
For organizations that require a news feed API in order to track/monitor companies, or conduct constant competitor analysis, or track hundreds of products simultaneously, only a comprehensive news feed API will do. A number of news APIs can’t or don’t cover the huge number of news articles published every minute online. Some cannot or do not cover specific niche sites. Some can only crawl content in English, and not in multiple languages. A comprehensive news feed API will be able to do all of these things easily.
- Choosing a news API that doesn’t provide machine-readable data
Any data collected by a news API must be structured and standardized for an AI or machine-learning application to be able to ingest and/or analyze it. Organizations that don’t need the data for analysis or for building an AI or ML program can do with a news feed API that doesn’t provide structured, machine readable data. But those who need it for the next step, whether it’s analysis or building an AI or ML algorithm, will require a news API that can map fields and values on the web pages, e.g. title, post text, comments, dates, author names, etc. so that the data can be delivered in a format ready for analysis.
- Choosing a news feed API that doesn’t crawl news sites continuously
In order to ensure that you don’t miss out on any important update, always go for a news feed API that has a very low latency i.e. a news API that can process a lot of data very quickly with minimal delay. There are news APIs that only crawl news websites once a day, and are thus useless for organizations that need near-real-time data for accurate competitive analysis, financial analysis, or media and web monitoring, or even organizations that rely on accurate data as a foundation for their AI and ML algorithms.
- Choosing a news feed API that’s not scalable
Organizations sometimes choose a simple news API based on their present needs, without thinking ahead about their future. When such organizations scale or expand, their simpler news APIs don’t work for them anymore, as they need data from hundreds of thousands of sources now. It is for this reason that organizations must always choose an advanced news API that learns from each website it has crawled, to be able to handle thousands of news sources continuously. In addition, always choose a news feed API that allows you to integrate your preferred sources for fetching user-relevant data from anywhere around the world. If you think you don’t need it now, you will in the long run.
- Choosing a news API that doesn’t provide past news data
Organizations looking to derive insights, detect patterns or make predictions about the future using large datasets will require a news feed API that not only provides present news data, but archived data from the past. Analysis, insights and predictive analysis can be done efficiently only by organizations that have news datasets reaching back at least 15-20 days (durations may vary for different organizations), which only advanced news feed APIs can offer.
TL;DR: The right news API for your organization will have the following features
The right news API for your organization, one you won’t need to change for a long time to come, should have features like:
- Wide coverage from thousands of news sources all around the world
- Multi-language support
- Full-text coverage from the websites it crawls
- Easy-integration into your application and/or websites
- Noise-filtering algorithms like NLP, NER, and disambiguation
- AI or ML powered
You can find all of these features, and more in Contify’s newsfeed APIs. Contify is a market and competitive intelligence platform that offers its news feed API as a solution for businesses.
This list should at least help organizations avoid common mistakes that others make while choosing a news feed API. Apart from the 5 mistakes to avoid that are mentioned above, always consult your organization’s developers before going for a news API. After all, they’re the ones who’ll have to integrate it with your apps, programs, and/or websites. A news feed API can help your organization in more ways than one, whether you’re using it as a data source, building your own product, gathering intelligence or simply for news aggregation. It can efficiently enhance the functionality of your applications and decrease development time significantly. Therefore, please perform due diligence before selecting a news API for your organization. Hopefully, this article provided you with enough information to make the right decision.