Adam Westbrook // ideas on digital storytelling and publishing

Ideas 001: the news aggregator

Posted in Ideas for the future of news by Adam Westbrook on November 4, 2009

I’ve opened up a new category on the blog today. It’s called Ideas for the future of news and here I’m going to start collating good, tangible, positive, innovative ideas on how journalism can move forward. With ‘entrepreneurial’ the hot-word of the week in #futureofnews circles, more people are starting to put some great ideas out there.

I’ll report on as many as I can. And here is number 001:

Idea: Climate Pulse, the news aggregator

By: Headshift & evectors

I was very excited earlier to read about a new venture, currently in alpha-testing, which promises to put theories on the clash between journalism, social media and user generated content into practice.

London based developers Headshift have teamed up with Italian company Evectors, and produced a new form of content management.

It’s best left to Headshift’s Robin Hamman to explain more:

…[it] basically monitors and aggregates blog posts, news websites, twitter tweets and a wide range of other sources we’ve configured in the backend. An editor can then curate this content and display it as they wish – for example letting the flow appear as a raw feed, tagging or geo-tagging content, featuring the best stuff, etc.

In other words, content is aggregated around a single topicbut then edited by a professional. They decide what is quality and what isn’t.

They’ve created a test site, called Climate Pulse, to try this out ahead of the COP Copenhagen meeting. Check out this diagram:

What’s particularly fantastic, is their method of sharing content, through 3rd party widgets:

we can easily build widgets of the flow from the page, and enable site owners interested in a particular issue, for example deforestation, to create a widget that displays, on their own site, that content. Social features could then be made available, meaning that the audience on third party sites could participate on the sites they choose to visit, rather than visiting Climate Pulse itself…

They see it as a move away from the journalist as moderator of UGC, to a curator.


  • it uses the power of crowd sourcing around a topic
  • it shares the results through a widget
  • potential for multimedia, mashups, interactives
  • has potential to satisfy niche groups


  • is it fulfilling for the ‘curating’ journalist?
  • if paywalls go up, mainstream news content may be limited
  • revenue generation not mentioned

I’d like these idea posts to be a place for constructive positive feedback on innovative new ideas. Many might not be completely thought out yet, but everyone gets top marks for actually putting new ideas out there. Stick your comments about Climate Pulse in the box below!


6 Responses

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  1. Tracy Boyer said, on November 5, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    It is indeed a great business plan. I currently work for another aggregation news service, i360Gov, that aggregates and hand selects articles for government professionals in Healthcare, Energy, Business, IT, Defense and Local Gov:

    Paywalls going up around original content will definitely impact these new aggregation sites, though …

  2. icegebrirlcat said, on November 24, 2009 at 9:14 am

    Good blogpost, good looking website, added it to my favs!

  3. […] Ideas 001: the news aggregator […]

  4. […] 001: the news aggregator […]

  5. links for 2011-02-01 « Working Notes 2.0 said, on February 1, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    […] Ideas 001: the news aggregator « Adam Westbrook :: online video & entrepreneurial journalism More on the Headshift/Evector crowdsourced curation try-out, with a handily larger diagram (tags: curation crowdsourcing aggregators tools ALISSproject) […]

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