Bob Stepno's Other Journalism Weblog
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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A picture named nytextra.jpgLinking "off site" was an early feature of blogs that commercial newspapers' sites were slow to adopt, for fear of letting the reader escape to the other distractions of the Web.

We've come a long way... Now The New York Times "Extra" button on its home page gives you an expanded page view with extra links beneath the story summaries -- links to external content, such as Jim Romenesko's Media News blog, or related stories by other newspapers. (See the Washington Times and L.A. Times in the example at the left.)

And now there's TimesWire, a page similar to my old "Atex" in-basket on the newsroom editing system, c. 1980. Instead of "top stories" or story categories, you get the Times most recent stories in chronological order.  This is sure to remind some people of or realtime results on search.twitter like

It's even closer to Dave Winer's "River of News" approach, which builds a similar last-in page using the Times RSS feeds:

Oops... I should have known Dave would get to this faster than I would:

A picture named twire.jpg I can't believe it's been almost three years since I wrote this about news rivers... Unfortunately the first part of my 2006 post refers to a site that no longer exists, but this part is still relevant:
News Nerd Nostalgia: Ah, ATEX. Back when Jimmy Carter was president, anyone with a big computer downstairs and tens of thousands of dollars in wire service subscriptions could read a daily "river of news" on our computer screens. (The people I'm talking about were editors at daily newspapers. I was compiling a daily page two "People" column using wire news, so I got one of the first wave of terminals at The Hartford Courant.)

We could scroll down through all the days stories in reverse-chronological order, even split the screen to compare the AP and UPI wire stories about the same event, then move paragraphs back and forth to create a "combined wires" story. You could choose whether to just browse the headlines, or expand them all to whatever number of lines of the story would give you enough information. It still felt very "Buck Rogers" as late as 1979! When I went back to grad school that year, I was disappointed to find that the university's computer terminals couldn't do anything like ATEX. Most of them didn't even do upper-and-lower-case letters. Times & technology do change.

2:33:53 PM    

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