Authors: Paul Rissen, Lewis Westbury

The Self Administered Interview, recently approved for rollout by the College of Policing, captures structured information from witnesses of large events.

Designed by the Goldsmiths Forensic Psychology Unit it’s intended to help eliminate or at least reduce personal bias by asking a series of structured questions. It’s designed to create sufficient information to identify key witnesses, and populations of people who had similar or different experiences of an event.

In 2017, participants at Hack the Police 2 built a couple of digital prototypes to illustrate ways to capture information at the scene of an event from witnesses before they dispersed.

Can something similar apply to news? How do you represent and capture structured information about world events?

The wayback machine has a copy of the BBC News Labs Manifesto for Structured Journalism published in 2015.

“There is a wealth of knowledge created during the ‘gathering and assessing’ phases of reporting that most publishing systems ignore. In the work we’re pursuing this summer, BBC News Labs is taking a look at “structured journalism” - can we empower journalists with better ways of working with information, beyond the headline and text of a story? How can this affect the quality of our reporting? Can it promote a greater public understanding of current affairs and issues - what the BBC’s Royal Charter describes as “sustaining citizenship and civil society?”

The BBC R&D blog describes the Mythology Engine - an application of this for fiction, which might just as well serve factual news.

Can we help journalists collect and maintain a structured database of facts and news, that can then be used to improve audience experiences?