June 02, 2013
NewsBlur Rocks!

My first-line news site used to be iGoogle because it brought together most of the major sources such as BBC, the Guardian, WaPo, NYT, and so on on the same page with weather and whatever other widgets you chose to add. It was a simple and useful interface that I expect was based on Google Reader, which is why they’re both disappearing at the end of October.

Long story short, I’ve switched to NewsBlur. With NewsBlur I can view headlines from any news source with an RSS feed, which means nearly everybody; we have one near the top of the page in the right-hand column, “Syndicate this site (RSS/XML)”. They’re easy to set up — RSS means Rich Site Summary but it’s often called Really Simple Syndication — so every major news source has some sort of feed, and many have specialized feeds for particular types of news.

The result of aggregating these various feeds is a presentation something like the following. Click on the image for a full-size view of it.


NewsBlur%204.jpg


In addition to aggregating the wheat and not having to sort through the chaff, you can train NewsBlur to bring the types of stories that interest you by giving thumbs up or down to each story based on its title and tags.


NewsBlur%205.jpg


This ability is limited by the news source’s tagging; some sources provide multiple tags, some provide few or none. You can also choose phrases in the title you want or don’t want. So it’s not everything one might want in the area of trainability, but those limitations seem to be in the content provided rather than the aggregating software. The stories you’ve flagged as uninteresting are still available, but by default you only get what you want or at least haven’t said you don’t want.

All in all, NewsBlur is a nice tool for seeing lots of headlines quickly. What I’ve found is that I hardly ever visit the actual websites of my major news sources like the Guardian because everything comes in through NewsBlur and the site itself is all duplicates. That’s not true for Talking Points Memo, almost alone among the sources I aggregate.

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Posted by Chuck Dupree at June 02, 2013 08:22 PM
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Anything that can screen out Tom Friedman is cool.

Posted by: on June 5, 2013 12:06 PM

NewsBlur would do that. If you added the NYT feed and trained it to avoid Friedman you wouldn't even see his headlines unless you made an effort to do so.

Posted by: Chuck Dupree on June 5, 2013 1:19 PM
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