Scripting News: A vision for River of News.

A picture named drum.gifI 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.

Also see my pitch for River of News. We need some updated technology here. My River2 software can be a start, but we’ve figured out how to do it more efficiently since then, with JavaScript and JSON. I don’t have the bandwidth now to do the development, at least not at this time, with Small Picture actively shipping new products. So there’s an opportunity here for techies as well.


About Dave Winer

Dave Winer, 54, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s