An interesting perspective on news as “data” from a data journalism pioneer in his early days of thinking through this problems:
“So much of what local journalists collect day-to-day is structured information: the type of information that can be sliced-and-diced, in an automated fashion, by computers. Yet the information gets distilled into a big blob of text — a newspaper story — that has no chance of being repurposed.
“Let me clarify. I don’t mean “Display a newspaper story on a cell phone.” I don’t mean “Display a newspaper story in RSS.” I don’t mean “Display a newspaper story on my PDA.” Those are fine goals, but they’re examples of changing the format, not the information itself. Repurposing and aggregating information is a different story, and it requires the information to be stored atomically — and in machine-readable format.
“That’s what I mean by structured data: information with attributes that are consistent across a domain. Every fire has those attributes, just as every reported crime has many attributes, just as every college basketball game has many attributes.