Rolling Your Own Newsroom

Financial professionals by their very nature are news junkies. I’ve always enjoyed building my own quick tools to parse information and share it with my co-workers, friends, and family. When I was at Bear Stearns I built a few subject-related iGoogle tabs and shared them with clients or co-workers. I looked at these tools as the poor man’s version of Bloomberg, since you could cobble together Yahoo or Google finance data with news feeds to make a focused custom page.

Recently my friends and family were asking me how to keep track of the “Wall Street Crisis.” I gave them sites and feeds–but they kept asking me for what I was reading. I spend a considerable amount of time reading, watching, and listening to news all day long. I email, Twitter, and forward links and stories throughout the day. So in essence, I am my own news editor. I enjoy tools like Snackr (thanks Marshall) which allows me to have a real time ticker-like interface for my feeds, and digg the giant social news filter. But one of the key tools I love to use is Google’s Reader.

What I like about Google’s Reader is the ability to tag items and then turn those tags into feeds for friends or inputs to other applications, like Yahoo Pipes. As I started playing with tags and feeds, I realized that you could create a real useful and simple version of a personal Newsroom. So I built a basic page of headline stories (think Drudgereport) using some Typepad RSS widgets. It took me about 2 hours to get the whole thing functioning through my existing Typepad site. It’s basic and gives me 80% of the functionality that I wanted.

I created five categories that are important to me and my audience: Technology, Finance & Economics, Politics, Crisis of the Moment, and Weird Wild Stuff. As I read throughout the day, I hand tag all the items that I think are interesting. The feeds automatically update through my tagging and with a small bit of delay they appear on the page.

The key is that all of the items that make it to the page have been reviewed and selected by me. So I am cultivating these stories and sources for my audience instead of having automated keyword tagging populate a feed. The process of reading and tagging is quite scalable (cruising through 1000’s of items is pretty painless). Ultimately it allows me to have a place in which my current hot topics are available for my friends. And as a bonus, if my friends use newsreaders they can subscribe to my five topic feeds (I use feedburner to manage the process)

You can check out my mini-news room.

If you are a small organization or group, this is an ideal way to keep track of topics. The cost is low, it is very simple to do and a snap to manage. Google Reader has other features for sharing and annotating links that you could use as well.

  • hi there,

    cool. that would be nice. if you could write a lil more details I might want to maintain a similar page for my colleagues who seem to be interested in some of the links that I see.


  • Rob

    Can we push the system you have highlighted here a little further, and say call it an editorial system for news/research publishers? From the large/proprietary systems to publish research, can we move towards a more standards driven, platform based approach to these systems?

    Or if this is too much of a stretch, where do you see this approach cracking apart?

    Editorial systems for research, and to an extent news, is something I think a lot about. Would love to hear your views…


  • MacrosReader is built only with Google AJAX Feed API and Yahoo Pipes.

  • I’d love to push the system further. It is a little kludgey going from Google Reader to feeds and then typepad. But for out of the box quickness it can’t be beat. I’ll try to write up the steps I took so that others can try it.

    If someone wanted to help build standards around this it would be cool. Reuters was trying something around tagging & semantics called open Calais. But it just seems so heavy. Making a set of tags or a tag database available through Google Reader would be a first step.

  • Twitter is also useful for customized tracking of, among other things, financial news:

  • As it is, I think what you have is a single user Digg or Reddit. However, if the page was using some form of “push”, you would indeed be reinventing the “NewsEdge” model for news, and that is really great – because it suggests that instead of monolithic news feed vendors, you could instantiate mini news feeds that are user specific, cheap to replicate like wikis, and actually useful for data that needs to be delivered in a timely fashion.

    As a user, it would be really nice to have a screen that could let me subscribe to specific topics from people’s feeds.

  • Surj

    Check out Newscloud. It’s been around for little over a year and it was designed to be a mini news room – it has potential and was tuned into it by ages ago by Phil Torrone

  • rick

    I do something like this with Feedly, but it’s not public, that’s an interesting idea… make a Reader account, connect it to Feedly, connect up an associated Friendfeed account and share everything. I wonder if Feedly can set all to shared auto-magically…. hmmm.

  • wilwon

    Cool stuff! btw, also checkout Feedity – – I use it a lot these days for creating custom RSS feeds from virtually ANY webpage. It is simple to use and gives great results. Hope it helps! Chao :)

  • Visited your mini-news room, great website!

  • I’m happy I found this website .I’m going to be back again to be able to check up on this informative website definitely. Best Regards, Daniel!