Big news for publishers in the Google News index. Inbal from Google announced in a Google News Help thread that in six months, Google will stop supporting the old News Sitemaps format and require you to switch over to the new format.
Although we will support your current Google News Sitemap during the transition period of six months, you should re-submit it under the new format as soon as possible. For more details on how to submit your Sitemap using the new format (including how to add new tags to each entry in your Sitemap, to provide more information about individual articles), please visit the Sitemaps section of our Help Center.
Once the transition period is over, we will no longer accept News Sitemaps created using the old format and any old News Sitemaps in your Webmaster Tools account will be rejected.
We encourage you to make these changes as soon as possible in order to avoid interrupting your content's inclusion in Google News. To get started, please visit the FAQ.
The new format looks like this:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9" xmlns:n="http://www.google.com/schemas/sitemap-news/0.9"> <url> <loc>http://www.example.org/business/article55.html</loc> <n:news> <n:publication> <n:name>The Example Times</n:name> <n:language>en</n:language> </n:publication> <n:access>subscription</n:access> <n:genres>pressrelease, blog</n:genres> <n:publication_date>2008-12-23</n:publication_date> <n:title>Companies A, B in Merger Talks</n:title> <n:keywords>business, merger, acquisition, A, B</n:keywords> <n:stock_tickers>NASDAQ:A, NASDAQ:B</n:stock_tickers> </n:news> </url> </urlset>
For more details on this new sitemap format over here.
Again, you have six months to make this change, but the sooner you do it, the better. ALso, there is a learning benefit to the new sitemap file. Any questions, join the forum.
Forum discussion at Google News Help.
Update: The Google News blog just added more information about this important update.