Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

NewsRadars Come Of Age: First Full-Fledged Professional Newsmastering Engine Around The Corner

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Tomorrow, I will be publishing a review plus interview with what I consider the first true full-fledged newsmastering engine.

Photo credit: Robin Good

For the first time, after 21 months ago I described in summary points my own vision for what a newsmaster and a newsradar (or newsmastering feed) would be, a tool finally incarnates all of that intelligence while pairing it with ease of use, reliability and performance.

This tool is so good, that it squarely puts out of the market my own NewsMaster Toolkit mini-guide, which while it surely retains some value to those wanting to have a broad overview of the techniques and the many tools and services available out there, it now needs to be fully re-updated in light of what this new technology makes now possible for everyone.

For now, let me make sure, that when we talk and say newsradars, we do really mean the same thing.

What is a newsradar?

A newsradar is a stream of news items covering a very specific topic.

A newsradar is created by aggregating news feeds from a multitude of different sources covering a specific topic. In the mix, there is typically a heavy use of so-called "search feeds" which are nothing less but "ongoing" search queries on major seaerch engines, directories or databases of all kinds. Being open queries that are run each time the feed is interrogated, search feeds provide also a powerful mechanism to "discover" new relevant information and sources.

On top of this, a good newsradar requires a newsmastering engine capable of filtering out duplicates and of including or excluding content based on a number of user-definable factors.

In more technical terms a newsradar is nothing else but a RSS feed which is the result of aggregating, mixing and filtering a large number of source-specific and search-based RSS feeds.

Newsradars can be extremely powerful in helping professionals monitor specific products, news trends, citations, competitive activity, business and stock opportunities, or whatever else you may decide to point your newsradar at.

So, what are the key benefits of using a newsradar?

a) A newsradar is a real-time monitoring engine on a specific news topic. If properly designed, it is richer, broader and more relevant than the content on the same topic that any of the major traditional media can offer.

b) A newsradar allows individuals and business to stay on top of specific topics, products or issues. Anything that is written, said or even video published about a specific product/topic can be tracked and reported back.

c) A newsradar allows a company or any person to accurately track and monitor any instance of their name being used by other web sites, news, blogs or other web-based outlets in near real-time. This is called an ego-search and is widly utilized to be informed, in near real-time of mentions, links and citations made of their name or sites on any web site or blog available online.

d) A newsradar is an instrument to build authority and credibility for any online publisher wanting to establish itself as a reference resource for breaking information on a niche, very specific topic. A newsradar is a collector of information on a specific topic or theme. The ability to craft newsradar channels that effectively save the user the need to go out and read a multitude of different feeds is self-evident to anyone. By publishing a quality stream of highly focused news the site becomes a point of aggregation for anyone interested in the topic and wanting to avoid having to follow the content published by a multitude of blog experts and other news sites. Not only. Being quality newsradars generally the fruit of quality human-based research work, newsradars are a tangible way for talented analysts or industry observers to "showcase" their "view" to their potential audiences. (As a matter of fact, I personally think that some of these newsradars may be so powerful that many professionals would want to sell access to them for some serious money.)

What is needed to build a newsradar?

Contrary to what most people may think the hardest part of building an effective newsradar is in the search and knowledge management skills required to the newsmaster setting this up.

While technology plays a tremendously important role in making it possible for a skilled researcher to build a newsradar, the ability of the newsmaster remains very critical in the overall workflow.

A newsmaster is a professional who is dedicated to the task of continuously improving and refining the queries, sources and filters utilized to create a newsradar on a specific theme or topic.

The newsmaster is the one that systematically checks the output generated by the newsradar and on the basis of that, manually edits and refines the selection of sources, filters and search queries utilized to obtain the final results.

In the best situations, the newsmaster sits behind a dashboard that displays a sequential stream of all the news items aggregated. The newsmaster checks and selects one by one which items to post and which ones to discard, while in some cases adding more "intelligence" in the way of tagging, categorizing, introducing or commenting selected items.

This is not much different from what Robert Scoble, a natural newsmaster, does without any dedicated newsmastering technology, and in fact with a very high-degree of personal added value.

But yes, next to the "intelligence", newsradars require software technology that allows a newsmaster to aggregate, store, mix, filter and query the RSS-based content sHe has gathered.

Until now only a handful of tools were available to do this, and they all required quite a bit of technical knowledge to be put to good use. This is why I have created The RSS Newsmaster's Toolkit, a mini-guide that provided all the information needed to do newsmastering work, while pointing to the many tools available.

Only recently, a new generation of RSS aggregation technologies has become available making it easier and faster to create effective newsradars without having to be a PHP wizard or an XML guru.

And as I said above, one in particular has finally surpassed the minimum treshold needed to be elected, at least from my personal view point the "premiere" "pro" newsmastering tool.

Tomorrow I will review this new technology (accessible to everyone) and share with you an insightful interview with his inventor.

Until then...check these articles out:

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posted by Robin Good on Tuesday, November 8 2005, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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