Rethinking government news

Where do government and other public sector folk get their news from?

  • Info4Local
  • eGov Monitor
  • GCN
  • Kable
  • Individual government department websites
  • Any others?

I wonder if there is a possibility for putting together a one-stop-shop for news, aggregating the popular sources in one place. I’d also like to see conversations added to the mix, so the news items could spawn discussion.

There are a few models one could use:

  1. Digg, with user submitted news and voting for popular stories. Will people bother though? Could you automatically feed stories in via RSS? Would similar stories be grouped together? This option will include comments on each item though.
  2. TechMeme, drawing together the stories along similar lines. Lack of commenting might be an issue, and it’s a very complicated thing to get right
  3. OnePolitics, aggregating a set list of sources. Simple enough to get up and running, but doesn’t seem to sort content by topic.

Would appreciate any thoughts on this: Where do you go now for your news? Is there a need for such a site? Which of the three models would be of most use to government folk?

8 thoughts on “Rethinking government news”

  1. At ruralnet|uk, we run xPRESS Digest – http:/www.xpressdigest.org.uk – a daily digest of 10-15 items of ‘regeneration news’ (as you’ll see from the content a fairly broad term), culled from around 100 sources (including most of the above). It is done by a real person every day with items being tagged appropriately and always linking to the original article (usually a press release). An email digest is constructed which goes out to our subscribers. xPRESS can be re-used in other places (eg a ‘rural’ or ‘Public Sector’ feed pulled from it or a feed from a search eg ‘Post Office’. We also get a few comments so it has the potential to be a conversation starter. It’s also a great searchable archive of news with over 8000 items from the past 3ish years. It’s a little bit of ‘digital curating’ we do, but it could be a lot more (and we do still only emphasise regeneration news)… Not sure where it fits in, but I think things like Digg are great but need a huge number of users to be viable. Because it is done by a real person it xPRESS costs money and so we are looking at ways of making it pay (sponsorship etc) any other models – user generated for example would be interesting, but I think its strength/added value comes from the filtering/curating role we do – all this stuff is out there already (although there are a staggering number of Govt departments and others that DO NOT HAVE RSS FEEDS FOR THEIR PRESS RELEASES AND SOMETIMES DO NOT EVEN PUT THE DATE ON THEM) but we work out what’s relevant so the subscribers/readers don’t have to and can either browse the headlines in an email (Web1.0) or grab an RSS feed (Web2.0)

  2. Just to add two things to the previous comment.

    ONE
    Here’s an example of a 3rd party taking a feed from xPRESS (they just take those we tag ‘funding’) and displaying it on their website:
    http://www.fundraising.co.uk/aggregator/sources/36

    TWO
    It’s amazing to us how many people comment on news we post (because they can’t do it in the place the original news item is published??). See ‘Recent comments’ in the right column here: http://www.xpressdigest.org.uk/

  3. Interesting stuff, guys, thanks. I think any solution I put together will need automating, but it’s interesting to see a hand-crafted system!

  4. One question strikes me:

    Who wants //all// government news in one place?

    Perhaps the trick is to provide guidance on how people can create localised/topical news portals – that pull together the relevant news feeds, web clipping and discussions into one place for that topic or locality.

    Before I realised xPress digest could provide all manor of RSS feeds I was running in through Yahoo Pipes to get just the youth related stories – and that sort of piped-news to automatically pick out the relevant news on a particular topic from general feeds could be a route to go…

  5. Whilst the idea is to have all gov news in one place, the ability to drill down into it to specify areas of interest would definitely be a feature, Tim!

  6. *nods*

    I think more that the idea I was throwing in was that a large proportion of the audience for government news wouldn’t identify themselves as being on the look out for government news – and would certainly not identify themselves as part of the audience for a site/tool giving them access to all government news – even if they could drill down to the bit they were interested in.

    They might, however, identify that they wanted ‘Health News’ of ‘Updates on Youth Policy from Government’.

    You could still have a central all gov-news-in-one-place tool with many different faces to meet this need – but I was thinking of how that could be more ‘demand driven’…

    (only half formed thoughts at this stage…)

  7. Hi Dave – I publish a website for the Victorian Government in Australia and collect all the egovernment news I can find from around the world – http://www.egov.vic.gov.au/ – I am currently in the process of implementing a review facility to enable discussion to talk place – happy to take any feedback.

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