I had lunch a couple of weeks ago with Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo. They’re just three stops south of me on the A train. We should do this more often, political bloggers and tech bloggers getting together to share a meal and talk about what’s possible.
At one point in the conversation Josh asked me what new technology they should be looking at. I didn’t hesitate — I had an answer prepared. This is what I suggested.
1. Let’s ask your readers for their OPML subscription lists.
2. Read the lists into a database and rank the feeds, figure out which are the most popular.
3. Then let’s start a river with those feeds. Let it run for a few days so all the feeds update a few times, and see what we’ve got. My bet is that we’ll have a pretty fantastic and totally unique news service.
4. Give it some space on TPM and let it live and breathe. We’ll all read this river, and get ideas for more feeds to add to it. You’ll learn about other, smaller, political blogs, and they’ll get exposure to a wider audience. Win-win. (You’ll also run links to stories from Politico and Buzzfeed, so oddly it’ll be the place people come to find out what’s new on your competitors’ sites.)
5. Make deals with them Josh. Ask them if they want to run some TPM ads. Share revenue.
This is a way to build community in new directions. Encourage people to step out from the discussion boards and start their own pubs. It would instantly make TPM the technology leader in the political blogosphere.
I promised I would write it up so that the idea could be presented to those people in their community who are RSS-savvy.
This is something I talk about all the time with news people who will listen. You never should have let Google own the news distribution system. But now that they’re evacuating, hurry up and fill the void, before another tech giant owns the space. News publishing is something news publishers should at least have a say in.