Friday, July 22, 2005


John Reith
Blogs aren't newspapers, though some like Slashdot are beginning to look that way. Newspapers are magical brews: toe of sports, eye of news, wool of gossip, tip of hope, root of evil. Lord Reith's agenda for the BBC applies, though perhaps no longer in his preferred order: educate, inform and entertain. Editors not only give us what they think we want, but also what they want us to think.

Newspapers, even those online, have a richer visual structure than most blogs, reflecting their more diverse content. See, for example, the New York Times and the Washington Post: multiple columns, rich typography, and multiple horizontal "folds".

One could assemble a compelling community-written alternative to conventional newspapers out of the ingredients on the web. The parts and pieces are there, but I haven't found the gestalt:

Browser-based RSS readers (like My Yahoo!) allow me to construct a list of content from blogs and news outlets, but don't give me the control over layout that I want. It's a one-dimensional list, with some options for a side-bar. The stories are also represented by just a headline.

Google News allows me to re-arrange the sections I'm interested in, and create custom sections - but sources the content from news sites, not blogs (yet?).

I'd like to compose a front page out of individual stories from my feeds (a la My Yahoo RSS) that fit my keyword requirements (a la Google) , presented as link+precis. I want a filtered, aggregated view of my blog feeds - hence the term "bloggregator".

Since I can imagine this, somebody's already built it, perhaps with a nifty combination of RSS and greasemonkey. Dear Reader, please let me know via the Comments where to find it.

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