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Monitoring and analyzing news coverage via NewsRack

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Event
MinneBar 5 (22 May 2010)
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This is not a panel.
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There are a lot of news monitoring / aggregation solutions out there. In this session, I am going to talk about NewsRack (no, not the iPhone/iPad rss reader) and its approach to news filtering.

While NewsRack's UI is quite bad, if you are willing to look beyond the UI, NewsRack provides a mini-language for specifying news filters and organizing them. Some of the features are documented here in a user guide. It is also multi-lingual, i.e. your filters can track news in multiple languages simultaneously.

This tool is heavyweight for casual news tracking, but is good for someone who has niche and more sophisticated news tracking needs that goes beyond a few keywords. Besides organizations and sites in India that use this, MediaDoctor and NewsTrust both use NewsRack's feeds in their projects.

As of today, there are over 400 taxonomies with about 3500 news categories on the site. With a better user interface, I expect that this would be much higher.

In the talk, I'll also talk about how you could use this tool to analyze how different news sources cover a topic. Additional enhancements to the filtering language would make this simpler.

I would welcome feedback and suggestions about how to make NewsRack more useful.

Depending on how this session goes, I might also briefly talk about a javascript "widget" / "templating" engine that I have spent some time working on. I recently made this public on github

Environment Support Group, Citizen Matters, India Water Portal are example sites that use both NewsRack and these widgets on their sites.

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