For readers of my blog you will know I’m after a service that will automatically generate an industry newspaper based on a feedset and by setting some parameters.
Well it seems I caught the beginnings of this with my post on RSS Star, which won the Microsoft Made in Express Contest in late 2006.
NOTE: I noticed the name change as my blog post on RSS Star is featured on the review page of FeedJournal.
The name has changed to FeedJournal, and from the website you can see a sample of a page, your very own RSS PDF newspaper, that is, feed content organised in a newspaper layout. Actually if you click on the screenshot you will see a FeedJournal sample, click here.
I downloaded FeedJournal, but for some reason I get an error when I launch it, too bad, so I’ll just have to be happy with the sample PDF for now…what about the web version
The FeedJournal tag on the developers blog has a post explaining the process of stripping and cleaning content so it looks just like an editorial chunk in a newspaper, and also the issue of extracting full-text out of summary feeds.
I’m not sure if FeedJournal does filtering or how it chooses stories and the size and placement of stories, but here’s my take.
There are many ways to go about this, the easiest is one feed set and set some manual tags, then the machine will file posts from your feed set into these tags, and ditch the rest…sounds like MyFeedz.
See more about this process on the second half of my post on Simply Headlines.
NOTE: you get more value from FeedBlitz over Simply Headlines, due to full-text content.
Another thing MyFeedz does is cluster similar stories and also recommend stories, these can be listed in the print version of my RSS print Newspaper idea, only you would need to list the URL’s for people to type in when they get to a PC.
For it to work as a print idea is that links in posts will need to list their URL’s at the footer of the story, see more.
If you follow, each tag is a section in the newspaper…now, which stories are small and which are big, well that can be based on authority/popularity just like the Memetrackers.
For example, the Feedeye RSS Reader will show you popular stories first in your linear based RSS Reader (as they all are), so in a newspaper, instead of these popular stories appearing first, they can be bigger editorials, and positioned in better spots, and the most popular story on the front page.
An alternative is for each section to be a different set of feeds, just like folders in your RSS Reader, or even using search feeds, filtering feeds, etc…
Other sections like Classifieds can be based on Listing feeds (edgeio), then we have weather feeds, event feeds, employment feeds, etc…
Kick back for feed sources
The first issue here is that I would be printing a newspaper based on other people’s content, do I have to pay for this, I don’t think so, what about Public RSS Readers (even search engines), aren’t they the same thing (considering you look out for a license that the blogger promotes).
But if this model includes advertising does this make a difference, eg. someone may visit a site or buy a product because they like to read the content on the daily print RSS Newspaper, and may sometimes follow up on an ad. But this isn’t click through’s, so how does the advertiser know where the visitor came from, if I print out an RSS Newspaper and someone reads about a product and they go but that product how do they know their sale came from an RSS print Newspaper.
The advertising model would have to be fixed price ads, but the people placing ads won’t really have much feedback on how well they are doing. There is no difference with traditonal newspapers, they are just confident in the level of readership and reputation of the publisher, they figure placing an ad will be seen by thousands/milllions of people.
The other spectrum is the feed sources, people will only place ads if there is great content and good readership numbers…and people who read this content on a daily base may react to these ads.
It’s only because of this content that they may react positively to an ad, so it’s only fair that the feed sources get paid. I don’t see the model for online version’s of RSS Newspapers any different.
Here’s an issue, what if your RSS Newspaper is not based on regular feed sources, but on search engine feeds, how do you distribute the wealth, and how do you know if you are allowed to re-syndicate their content anyway (whether there’s ads or not), you’d have to look for license badges on the blog from which each story came from before you go to print.
NOTE: search engines that display ads may be excluded as their prime directive is search (publishing results), whereas an RSS print Newspaper is an explicit publishing model. But then how would you explain something like the Technorati Blog Directory, eg. blogs about wikis, notice they don’t show content anymore.
But then what about Technorati Favourites, this content is coming from feeds, designed as a newspaper that is on a public URL…notice the ads.
An automatically generated newspaper where the content is based on your sources, and your newsmastering efforts in filtering the right content.
If you work in an engineering firm, medical firm, law firm, etc…wouldn’t this be a great idea, just leave copies of your daily news in the coffee room.
If you had a massive blogging enterpise you could even split your newspaper into having a section for internal news generated from internal knowledge worker blogs.
The Obligatory blog [via 37 Signals] points to Guardian Unlimited G24 PDF versions of the news.
You can’t make these yourself, but I like the layout…you can do a DIY version for any feed or OPML via RSS2PDF.