I'm working on NYU projects here. Stay tuned! :-)

Hello world

Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country.

This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius. Blah blah bla blah.

This is another little idea.

Start your own river, now!

Previously: “Rivers make news organizations more efficient at gathering news.”

Which begs an obvious question — How?

You can experience a river by reading someone else’s.

Here’s one that covers a development community. Every time there’s a new source, a new tributary, we add it to the river. So in case you might not be subscribed to every mail list or blog, as the community grows, you can still easily get up to date on what’s going on.

To start your own, here’s a howto:

http://quick.newsriver.org/

If all goes well, you’ll have a river in five minutes.

Leave it running and you’ll get news on the sources we subscribed to for you.

But the real art to rivers is in the choice of feeds.

More on that soooon.

PS: If you want to put it on a server where you can access it over the Internet at any time from anywhere, here’s how to set one up in Amazon’s “cloud.” It totally demystifies it. You’ll see that a server is just a computer, like your laptop, except you never turn it off and it’s always on the Internet. That’s all a server is. Seriously. :-)

Journalism and Rivers

A river of news is a kind of RSS aggregator that flows news stories through a page, newest first, at a high rate. It’s a quick way for anyone to follow news from a large number of sources, but it’s especially important for journalists, who must be immediately aware of news as it’s happening.

Rivers make news organizations more efficient at gathering news.

For example, the Local East Village, a collaboration between The New York Times and NYU, is using a river to follow news from bloggers in and around the East Village.

A sports reporter might want a river that captured sporting news both locally and around the world, with a focus on the sports that are of particular interest in his or her community.

Rivers are important, we believe, but few news organizations have them. We don’t believe there huge obstacles in the way.

Plan: This semester, we will teach students how to manage rivers. They will learn how to install and run a server in the cloud, make decisions about what news sources to follow. Develop feedback loops with the people who follow the news (the reporters) and the people who generate it (the communities). Curate reading lists of feeds to share with other organizations.

Sponsorship: We’re seeking sponsorship in the form of cloud servers for use by students and faculty learning how to manage rivers. If, when they leave the university, they want to have rivers for the organizations they join or consult with, they will have to obtain the sevices themselves. This sponsorship is only for students and faculty use.

Welcome to my NYU blog!

I’ve been at NYU for 1.5 years, and it just hit me — I don’t have a blog here.

So I got with Tim Libert, our friendly J-school web developer, and asked him to set me up with one. He very kindly did so, and now you’re reading it.

Why?

A picture named shirt.gifEarlier this year I wrote a piece on Scripting News called Educating the Journo-Programmer.

Of course they should be blogging and have Twitter and Facebook accounts. They should use Skype and be able to edit a video and do a podcast.

But there’s more. At least some should be comfortable with the infrastructure of web publishing. We’ve been blogging for well over a decade. It’s true that we need programmers today to keep our blogging servers running, but that won’t always be true.

And if a journalist knows how the server software works, he or she is going to get ideas that programmer don’t. It’s the combination of perspectives that has so much power.

That’s why even thinking about the “journo-programmer” is so potent.

I have an idea what they could do, and I want to see if it’s right.