The news industry’s technical standards body has approved two major working papers for its latest XML initiative, NewsML, and authorized retention of a consultant to produce a working draft by this summer. At its spring meeting in Nice, the International Press Telecommunications Council also ratified improvements to the News Industry Text Format, the XML-based text markup standard, and expansions to its subject code list to provide for better coverage of the Summer Olympic Games. The two NewsML papers are part of the IPTC 2000 initiative launched last fall to develop an XML-based framework for structuring and managing news objects in a multimedia environment. They are: Requirements Specification (, and Encoding Decisions, a guideline on how XML is to be used to construct NewsML ( The goal is to have a draft ready for review for the IPTC Annual General Meeting in early July in Geneva. …. Two NewsML working parties have scheduled meetings in London next month to continue their work. The News Structure and Management group will meet May 15-17, followed by the News Text group May 17-19. In other action at the spring meeting the NITF Maintenance Working Party won approval to streamline the text standard in two ways: (1) structural changes, to refine the organization of NITF documents, and improve definitions of container elements so their use is consistent; and (2) tag clarification, to eliminate redundant and unnecessary tags. The NITF Maintenance group was formed in January to manage changes to the standard and prepared these proposals at a meeting in February. Additional changes are pending and another meeting is expected before the July AGM. (The updated DTD is available at or The IPTC also agreed to pursue contacts with groups developing other media standards as it develops NewsML and maintains the NITF. These include MPEG-7, a metadata standard for audio and video objects; PRISM, an XML initiative for magazine publishing; and SMPTE/EBU, an advanced authoring format for the broadcasting industry.