Reuters Spotlight APIs

Reuters Group plcImage via Wikipedia

Andrew Lister from Reuters Labs shared with me their brand new API product called Spotlight. The APIs lets you pull Reuters stories, videos, photos and full article content as RSS feeds or XML/JSON or even as RDF.

Getting started is easy – signup on, activate your account and you have an accesskey to call the APIs.

The APIs let you pull Reuters content (articles, full news text, photos, videos) for a particular edition ( US, UK, Japan, India, China etc.) and a channel ( e.g. Top News, Entertainment, Business.).

The API call is a simple HTTP request with parameters and their values mentioned in the query string. There is no API authentication but the apikey is required for tracking usage. A sample request looks like:

With every piece of content returned, you do get some interesting metadata, such as related categories e.g. for this article about “Wedding bells for Bush’s daughter Jenna draw near

<category term=”Washington / US Government News” />
<category term=”Living and lifestyle” />
<category term=”Domestic Politics” />
<category term=”Online Report text item” />
<category term=”United States of America” />
<category term=”Canada” />

Another useful feature is that Spotlight does integrate with Reuter’s Open Calais and can return you more entity data from the Calais analysis. E.g.

Facility: Rose Garden, Texas ranch
Organization: Virginia Republican Party, University of Virginia, White House, U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
IndustryTerm: media reports, media glare, refused media
Company: Constellation Energy, CNN
Country: United States, North Korea, Afghanistan, Iraq
Person: David Alexander, George W. Bush, Richard Nixon, Gordon Johndroe, Tricia, Jenna Bush, Henry Hager, Virginia Lt. Gov, Larry King, Oscar de la Renta, Laura Bush, Live, Edward Cox, John Hager, Chris Wilson
ProvinceOrState: Virginia, Texas, Maryland, Maine

Some more examples feeds:

Videos for US top news:

Photos for US Sports news:

Another notable feature are the editorial/admin APIs (they call them Information Feeds) which a publisher to build editorial controls around what data is being pulled from these APIs. E.g., if I had a CMS I could use these APIs to build an editorial page showing what kind of channels or content is available through the Spotlight Feed and help an editor configure it for the system.

Questions that I have for the Reuters folks:

1. How often is the data refreshed in these feeds?

2. How are updates for articles published? Are there identifiers that can help an app refresh the data on its side.

3. Is there any caching that Reuters is doing?

4. What are Reuter’s policies about getting the full article body from Reuters and then re-publishing on another site?

Before you get all excited to build apps that make you money, an important point to notice – the APIs are for non-commercial use only. So do make cool things that helps the world in free non commercial ways.

The Spotlight APIs follow the launch of Reuter’s OpenCalais API. Its all about the APIs!


6 thoughts on “Reuters Spotlight APIs

  1. Thanks Vineet.

    To answer your question the best I can:

    1. As this is an experiment (in Reuters Labs) we are playing around with caching times for the content feeds (~5 mins today!) – it is as much about scaling as anything else and that the different types of feeds and content will determine how long they are cached for. For instance the Information Feeds change less frequently while the Content Feeds change much more often.

    2. In coming releases there will be the ability to control your output better, which could include the ability to send in the last article ID and/or Date and Time (or range) so that you can receive in your response only what has been updated since your last call.

    3. answered in 1.

    4. As the terms and conditions state, this is strictly for non-commercial purposes – unless otherwise agreed by us. If someone builds a service they think could become commercially viable we will be very happy to talk to them about opportunities as well as our professional syndication feeds.

  2. Thanks Vineet for the clarifications on Spotlight.

    I am looking for someone who can consult with on implementing this service on a sports blog. If you know of anyone please let me know, i’d appreciate it!


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