Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Aggregation and linking for the real world newsroom

Scott Karp has a long and thoughtful post at Publishing 2.0 that describes how aggregating links to content elsewhere fits into daily operations at real newsrooms. Of particular interest is the experience of Jack Lail at, where he's been using the Publish2 tools to turn regional blog postings into stories and features.

I don't know how the work is being received by audiences there (are you listening, Jack? Wanna tell?) but to me it looks like a winning application of what Karp calls "speed and elegant simplicity of innovation."

All these examples are things you could be doing on your site, right now. I know Scott is eager to introduce newsrooms to the Publish2 platform, and doubtless would be available to consult informally if you're interested.

I'd love to hear about anybody who tries.


  1. Anonymous5:24 PM

    Howard, this is a "your mileage may vary" answer because it will certainly depend on the interest in the content.

    This "article" was in our Top 10 articles on Tuesday for the combined knoxnews/govolsxtra sites.

    Today, this one is performing in the Top 15 on the combined knoxnews/govolsxtra sites.

    Both of these are sets links to blog postings. They were created using the Publish2 tool on a topic of very high reader/user interest.

    I could easily create these without using the Publish2 tool. But it makes for quicker work and I'm all for that.

    My work process is simple: Surf blog aggregators and blog search engines for appropriate content, bookmark the content in Publish2 with a fairly obscure tag. Get the RSS link for the tag in Publish2 and process through a perl script (which I found on the Internet) that outputs a bulleted list. It's format happy for our Ellington publishing platform. Cut-and-paste as "article" text.

    The links can be gathered over time, by multiple users using the same tag or from multiple computers.

    I hope that helps.

  2. Anonymous7:42 PM

    Howard, thank you for the spotlight. And Jack, thank you for sharing the data and your experience.

    A few points that might be helpful:

    - For those not as savvy as Jack is with Perl scripts, we have a widget that can easily be placed and formatted on any web page, which automatically displays the headlines bookmarked by an individual journalist or newsroom, for a particular story or topic, based on a tag applied to the bookmarks.

    - In addition to the shortcut for one person working on aggregating links for a story, Publish2 also has a benefit for editorial teams, whereby each member can contribute to an aggregation effort from their own Publish2 accounts, from any computer. Jack and others did this for the primary election -- Rockford Register Star, as I described in the post, used a team approach to aggregate links on the NIU killing last week.

    - There is a larger opportunity for collaborations across newsrooms. To take sports, following Jack's lead, two newsrooms covering the same game -- each for their respective home teams, i.e. in different markets -- might bookmark reactions from their own local bloggers (as Jack did). On Publish2, each newsroom could discover interesting items that the other has bookmarked. On a broader topic, like the election, there is a great opportunity to share links to local perspectives across Publish2's national network.

    We're aiming to create a "network of newsrooms," taking a phrase from one of Howard's previous posts. And links are the connections.

    And yes I would love to consult with anyone interested in experimenting with Publish2 -– it is a free platform (no strings).

    Email me at scott.karp at publish2 dot com