Phil Gyford's news project

Phil Gyford is doing a news project. He's just written up day one. The project's aim, in his words, is to:

spend the week writing an online news website ... I’ll probably spend the week reading a lot of existing news and re-writing, quoting, linking, summarising it all ... all being well I’ll publish the result, whatever it is, at the end of the week.

I, and the team at Rattle, have been thinking about news for a while. We're interested in ways to make it better, more accurate, more discoverable, more social. I'm not sure we have the answers, but we've got plenty of ideas. One of which, "As Reported", was short-listed for funding at the 4iP launch last year, but didn't quite make it, and hasn't come any closer to getting funded since.

Anyway, Phil's project sounds interesting, and reminds me of the 'citizen journalism' week I spent reading, reporting and summarising the news from the BBC News offices way back in 2006 (gosh, didn't I look young then?).


My process was a little different - I published as I went, on the Wikinews website, rather than at the end of the week - but the aims were similar. I has access to the "newswires", but to be honest, that didn't add much other than getting agency-derived news half an hour or so before everyone else. You can still read my diary of the week on the BBC News website. One of the things I was investigating with the week was finding a participation model for crowdsourced news websites. At the time, the Wikipedia approach, of having a large number of editors improve articles slowly over time, didn't seem feasible for news, where speed is important, and the value of "old news" is generally pretty low. (I'm no longer true that this is totally true - the 'urgency' of much of the news seems a little overhyped, and the significant stories often seem to be the longer-lasting, slow-burn type.) So the experiment was to see how much news a single non-journalist person could compile and edit in a week, with the idea being that if it worked, perhaps we could all just take it in turns.

Anyway, this self-indulgent preamble is mainly just a way for me to say that you should follow Phil's week-long news project, because I think it'll be interesting. And if it is, perhaps he could actually publish his curated week's worth of news in actual newsprint...