Aron Pilhofer, editor of interactive news at the Times, told MediaBistro that their plan - though only in the early stages of development - is to 'make the NYT programmable' adding 'everything we produce should be organised data.'
The Times will start by creating in-house platforms to organise its events listings, restaurants reviews and recipes before it launches an API to let a wider set of developers across the web loose to create new websites and applications from its content.
These initial plans may be limited but they signal the start of a bigger move and an obvious change in mindset in how that particular community of journalists thinks about content.
Opening up API - as Facebook did to great success - could allow developers to create rich niche sites and mash-ups of content from the paper and even mark a way into making money from the vast archive of material that it sits on. It's a mouth-watering prospect because the ways in which the content could be used are myriad.
The development is also further evidence that part of the plan to offset falling print revenues at the Times is to look to engage the web on its own terms through encouraging distribution of information as widely as possible rather than placing artificial barriers around content and insisting its interacted with in the usual one dimensional way.
National newspapers in the UK have the resources to create APIs and build out on their content but whether or not they will take this step depends on how they see themselves.
If they still see themselves as a replicated print newspaper online - where readers follow links and tap in the paper's url to read, watch and listen to content - then probably not. But if they see themselves as a news and information service and part of a richer, broader web then the possibility to exploit the tonnes of unexplored archive information they posses might become more concrete.
The early signs are there. The Telegraph has set up an in-house technology lab dedicated to creating new editorial projects.
Thompson Reuters has also launched an API to help improve the quality of its journalism. Its Open Calais project gives developers outside the company the opportunity to share the technology it uses to connect related information across its databases.
Instead of relying on typical phrase and keyword based searches to find and relate additional information to pieces of content Open Calais uses technology inherited from Reuters purchase of a small company called Clearforest to create smart links between pieces of content. Instead of just linking words like-for-like in the way a Google search would this technology understands the meaning and context of keywords enabling it to create a richer and more intelligent set of related material.
By letting external developers use its technology for free Thompson Reuters is learning about the behaviour of web users looking for related content that it can then use to inform its own relationship with its customers and its own web audience.
It's a win/win situation as it has distributed its knowledge gathering exercise and given developers the chance to get their hands on technology that could improve the sites and applications they're building.
Before the Knight News Challenge winners were announced earlier this month Journalism.co.uk asked why there was not a similar prize in the UK to foster innovation in digital journalistic products.
Newspaper in the UK could effectively bypass our call to hothouse innovation by instead setting their developers to create interfaces that let those outside their organisations work on new editorial products for them.
But what would that look like? What could they likely develop that would be appealing to an audience and make money through advertising or charging for that premium content? That's anyones guess. Answers the comments sections please.