Packaging national election headlines for local news sites with Publish2

Happy Election Day-After!

I’m still up to my neck in post-election analytics, gathering stats and data from hundreds of news sites I work with to do a little postmortem on what worked, who learned some new tricks, and what the readers thought of it.

One of the things we put together here at GateHouse for Election Day coverage was a national election news widget.

Because I work with small-town and rural community newspapers, national news is the last thing I want reporters and editors to spend time on while local election results are coming in.  Copying and pasting AP stories?  No.

But, wouldn’t it be nice to have a constant stream of headlines available for readers obsessively pounding the refresh button looking for updates on local races?  Without depending on any one source, like the AP, that everyone else has on their sites?

Yeah, it would:

Neosho Daily News on November 5

This is a screenshot of a chunk of the content well at a small (think: sub-10,000 print circulation) news site in Southwestern Missouri.

The top part of it is list of headlines that we’re putting together with Publish2.

I’ve been working with editors from the GateHouse News Service to use Publish2 as a bookmarking engine to route headlines from our browsers to that widget on many GateHouse sites.  In fact, the news service has been using it for months now to feed links to their Elections page.  You can find notes on that use and our use of Publish2 to feed Hurricane Gustav headlines to sites in Lousiana here.

Here’s why we’re getting so much use out of this:

  1. It’s simple. Use a bookmarklet, surf the Web, hit the button when you find a story to share.
  2. It’s diverse. You choose the sources, you push the buttons, you curate the content.
  3. It’s timely. I sat in front of my laptop last night, scanning, Google News, Yahoo News, the network’s sites, big national papers, Memeorandum, Twitter, and Google Reader, plucking the results off the pages and bookmarking the link with Publish2, giving local sites an instant feed of national headlines.

Scott Karp started telling about his plans for Publish2 more than a year ago, when it quickly inspired me to start thinking about ReportingOn, based on what Publish2 didn’t do; but he keeps developing the idea, and I think he makes a strong case for using it as a tool for curating the Web in a way that makes sense for news organizations.

Yes, yes, I know that you could do something similar with Delcious or Google Reader or FriendFeed or even a Twitter account, but Publish2 has a by-journalists-for-journalists feel that I like.  You’re not repurposing some other app to do what you want; this is designed to do what you want, and even allow you some editorial control, or even to group users with access to a set of links.

Check it out.  Curate the Web that your community cares about.

1 thought on “Packaging national election headlines for local news sites with Publish2”

  1. Hi Ryan,

    Thanks for the mention! “Curate the Web that your community cares about.” — love it!

    Also wanted to mention that you can now do many things with Publish2 that are not possible with delicious or other consumer apps:

    – Send links simultaneously to Twitter, delicious and other social networks (Facebook coming soon). Newsrooms need efficiency. Link once, distribute it everywhere. (David Cohn calls it reverse FriendFeed).

    – Create a Newsgroup to get many people in the newsroom to contribute links, without having to splice feeds, use clogged Yahoo pipes, or other kludges. Dallas Morning News is using a Publish2 newsgroup for this collaborative linking effort: This feature was designed for newsroom collaboration and editorial workflows — think about harnessing the “collective editorial intelligence” of the newsroom (or many newsrooms).

    – Coming soon: Import Google Reader Shared Items, send links as posts to Movable Type and WordPress, and lots of other goodies. (Ryan, you know you have a standing invite to connect Publish2 to ReportingOn.)

    – By-journalists-for-journalists is right on. Our development roadmap is all about journalists. You won’t get that from a consumer app. We provide tech support and editorial support for newsrooms. See if delicious will answer the phone. Why kludge a consumer app when you have something actually designed to do what a newsroom wants to do (still trying to wrap people’s heads around the idea of not having to kludge anymore).

    All right, I think that’s quite enough shameless promotion clogging up your comments.

    Keep rocking with ReportingOn. Long live by-journalists-for-journalists apps.



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