Tuesday, June 03, 2008

New ways to get the news

I'm intrigued with today's story about the Bill Clinton rant against the author of the negative Vanity Fair story about him, recorded by "amateur reporter" Mayhill Fowler (at Huffington Post), because Fowler is the same reporter who reported Barack Obama's comments at a San Francisco fundraiser about 'clinging to guns and religion'. (Dave Winer discusses.)

After the first story, I pictured a young blogger, but it turns out Fowler is a 60-something former Tenneseean with a lifelong family interest in politics, who's worked her way into a position as a frequent 'Off The Bus' blogger.

This is exactly what the 'Off the Bus' project was hoping for, I'd think, using bloggers to find news the major media misses.

It's just one of several intriguing new ways of getting news that have been showing up this election year. They don't always last (I remember from the 2000 election) but make things interesting while the demand is there. For straight news from the major media, as well as blogs and other new media sites, here are a few:

Dave Winer, the originator of RSS and now an evangelist for Twitter, has just launched a new service he calls NewsJunk (for news junkies). It's just plain politics news, similar to Winer's 'River of News' format, but with lots of alternative ways to access. Winer says:
For now there are five main ways to consume the flow:
1. Refresh the home page periodically.
2. Subscribe to the RSS feed.
3. Follow it on Twitter.
4. Befriend it on FriendFeed.
5. Watch for developments on the weblog.

Over the last few months I've gotten emails announcing other news portals, including Daylife, which allows you to set up pages on news you want (Bill Clinton news, for example), has news widgets for your website, an image tracker, etc.

Then there's The Daily Source, a non-profit which uses human editors to scour news sites and organize on one page.

Of course, then there's the (fairly) new AOL News.

(Updated:) And of course, how could I forget, especially since I've posted about it a couple times and have a badge on this blog, Alltop. Like this Politics list.

(And another update:) Also, note the link in comments below to Grazr, one I hadn't seen yet. I may have to try this one out a bit.

I fell in love with Yahoo! News and, particularly, its Full Coverage roundups (like this one on Sen. Kennedy), many many years ago. It was a wonderful resource for a newsroom researcher/intranet guide when a breaking or ongoing news story needed to be covered.

These days I don't go to news aggregator sites much any more, though, or even use news feeds; I tend to just browse Memeorandum and a few other news sites, and search Google News when I need something fast. I suppose many still find them useful, though.

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  • I'm a big fan of rivers of news style feed reading. It's one of the reasons we built a lot of tools to try to enable people to make them. Just wanted to leave a small plug for Grazr ( ) as another way to create streams of news data on specific topics. Our UI can be a little confusing (I apologize, we're working on it) but it will allow you to create personally tailored news streams and to republish that news in the form of widgets (or subscribe in feed readers). gives a bunch of examples of some (albeit boring) reading lists we threw together to show the potential of making outward facing rivers (we call the streams).

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:40 PM  

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