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 NeoshoDailyNews.com 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 politics.alltop.com, 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.