WSJ looking to aggregate news and news judgment
Justin Ellis of the Nieman Journalism Lab writes about how a programmer/reporter at The Wall Street Journal is working on a new news aggregator.
Ellis writes, “When Jeremy Singer-Vine was building topheadlin.es, a mobile-ish news aggregator, this was the specific use case he had in mind. ‘For me, I was trying to think: What part of the day am I most wanting a different experience?’ he said. ‘For me, it’s waking up in the morning and trying to catch up with whatever was happening.’
“Singer-Vine is a programmer/reporter for The Wall Street Journal, and topheadlin.es is a sort of stealth experiment in mobile news and aggregation for the company. What it does sounds fairly simple: Every three minutes, it scans a list of 10 news sources and delivers the one top headline from each, in an unclothed layout best fit for a mobile web browser. The Journal is no different from other news outlets that offer a handful of device-specific apps for news, but in this case, Singer-Vine said, they wanted something that was specifically mobile and worked across devices. “We just wanted to experiment with the idea of doing something that wasn’t a mobile site but was mobile minded,” he said.
“Sounds simple, but there’s an underlying issue under the hood. How exactly do you figure out, in code, the top headline in The New York Times, The Washington Post, BBC News, Politico, The Wall Street Journal, and more? (That list also includes the Drudge Report, Vulture, ESPN, the Associated Press, ProPublica, and a smattering of regional papers, sports, and financial sites) In other words, how do you make an aggregator with a little more finesse?
“‘It aggregates news judgment,’ Singer-Vine told me. ‘We’re looking at what are, in this case, homepage editors of big news sources think are the most important stories of the day or of the moment.'”
Read more here.