Wednesday, February 11, 2009

More Neighborhood News, All in One Place

It's indisputable that Chicago newspapers aren't doing the job they once did covering neighborhoods. But we're lucky to have a long tradition of alternative journalism here, from the long-running Chicago Reporter and Community Media Workshop's News Tips to web-only vehicles like the Chi-Town Daily News. In the last couple years we've also seen the emergence of "hyper-local" sites by neighborhood development corporations.

It's hard to keep up, even if you use a "feed reader" like Google Reader. That's why the scribe team at LISC/Chicago is developing the Chicago Neighborhood News Bureau, to help collect, edit and distribute news from under-served communities.

We're seeking funding to ramp up the news bureau but to get warmed up we created a Chicago Neighborhood News page that aggregates the feeds from 11 neighborhood sites and eight special-interest or news sites, including, among others, the education journal Catalyst Chicago and Chicago Talks, a news site put out by Columbia College's student journalists.

Please check it out and let us know if it works for you -- or not. And please suggest other sites that might fit our mix of neighborhood types and urban-issues wonks.


Monica said...

This is awesome, Patrick. And thanks for putting us near the top! The only thing I wish is that it would pick up all stories I put on the web, not just the ones in the "News" section. I like to post things right under the issue and feature them if they are timely, but then not have to put them in "News" first and then categorize them under an issue after they become old...unfortunately this means they don't get picked up by feeds like this...

Patrick Barry said...

Monica, I believe we're picking up the Home Page feed, not News, though I'll let our experts at Webitects confirm that. But you've identified a basic challenge with using RSS feeds on content-rich sites. Many sites have multiple feeds to slice and dice the content, and whatever you choose, you lose something. That's why we're running two Catalyst feeds, because one is news and the other is their more oft-updated "notebook."

Webitects? Any ideas?

Vincent Tan Liao said...

Monica, The page is now pulling from the home page. The items are ordered by when they were last edited. We are currently working on caching the feeds to improve performance.

Mike Quinlan said...

very convenient, almost to the point were i feel like i'm cheating somehow!

It's easy to get get tunnel vision in our own communities and this is a great way to learn from others.

I also like keeping NCP, COC and SSA websites in a folder under "favorites" and opening them up all at once.