The Dim-Post

September 5, 2016

The need for an aggregator

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 9:00 am

This Russell Brown post on the Herald and Stuff sites obscuring the actual journalism their companies generate by burying them under torrents of clickbait is very true. Someone told me recently that Paula Penfold and the other former 3D Investigates journalists had been doing good reporting for Fairfax, and it occurred to me that I have no way of finding this out other than random word-of-mouth. I don’t read the actual paper, don’t use Twitter and stopped going to Stuff years ago. And it then occurred to me that Matt Nippert and Kirsty Johnson (and probably some others) are probably still writing good stories at the Herald, but since I gave up on their site a few months back too, I don’t get to read them either. I basically just get my news from the RNZ site now, and the odd linked article on Facebook, because they’re the only sources that don’t spam me with reality TV nonsense and overseas crime stories with headlines and ledes disguised to look like local content.

What I could really use is an aggregator. Way back in the day Kiwiblog functioned as a political news aggregator, linking and excerpting pretty much every political story with DPF writing ‘An excellent Herald editorial’ at the top or ‘Indeed’ at the bottom of them. If I had world enough and time I’d set up a New Zealand journalism aggregator, and call it ‘Indeed’ in honour of those salad days. But I don’t. I’d be very grateful if someone else did though. Hell, I’d even log in to twitter to check it.


  1. Well, my “NZ Politics Daily” emails provide a bit of aggregation. And I’ve been including those Fairfax investigative stories, as well as the Nippert and Johnston ones. So I’ll take this opportunity to pitch my free service… If anyone wants the daily emails, just contact me at:

    Comment by Bryce Edwards — September 5, 2016 @ 9:16 am

  2. Indeed.

    (FIRST! With the obvious Dad joke. AGAIN )

    Comment by Rob Hosking — September 5, 2016 @ 9:43 am

  3. I read one of the first of Stuff Circuit’s features and it was an example of excellent journalism – but I’m buggered if I can find the rest of their work (and there’s been at least one other feature published by the team). What’s the point of paying to have some of the best journalists working on quality long-form journalism if Stuff doesn’t brag about it, or at least make their work easy to find?

    From the absolutely-nothing stories (to drive up page views) to shoddy grammar and spelling (due to publishing directly to web without a sub there to check) to lack of newsroom knowledge going back more than a few years (as most of the old guard of journalists took their redundancy and ran when Fairfax sliced into journalist numbers), the overall quality of journalism in NZ print media weaker than it should be. We need a strong media as part of having a healthy democracy but the owners of the fourth estate are letting us down badly.

    Comment by Ataahua — September 5, 2016 @ 9:56 am

  4. Would you pay money for it, though?

    Comment by Gareth Wilson — September 5, 2016 @ 9:58 am

  5. Ah… I wondered what happened to the Bryce Edwards round-ups.

    Comment by Bill Bennett — September 5, 2016 @ 10:05 am

  6. Sounds like a job for…drum roll… FREED!


    Comment by insider — September 5, 2016 @ 10:58 am

  7. I agree about RNZ. At least where Stuff is concerned, I still follow the RSS feeds for National News and for a few of the specific local newspapers (mostly DomPost, but also some nearby local papers like the Wairarapa News and Manawatu Standard). It’s a very different experience from Stuff’s front page, which I barely ever bother to visit now except by accident. eg.

    It’s still possible to find real local news. A tragedy seems to be that it’s less likely to be read because so many people don’t know how to hunt it out, or simply don’t.

    Comment by izogi — September 5, 2016 @ 11:01 am

  8. An aggregator for political news sounds fine, but – who/what would you include in it?

    Scoop gives us the horse’s mouth, and that’s useful. Then there’s the commentary on what comes out of the horse’s mouth, but does anybody ever read (e.g.) Barry Soper or Duncan Garner and say ‘Wow, I never would have thought of that myself!’. You might as well listen to talkback or the drunk guy at the barbie, they all got predictable reckons that add nothing.

    So it really comes down to real news reporting, finding out what the politicians are NOT telling us, or are forced to tell us by sharp interviewing. Who does that? RNZ, a bit. The Herald, less and less. Nobody on TV at 7 pm any more. The ghetto telly at weekends. So the real problem is, there’s hardly anything to aggregate.

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — September 5, 2016 @ 11:45 am

  9. You’re not really talking about aggregation. If you want quality, you’re talking about curation, which is a different ballgame entirely. Apart from the obvious dogwhistle and evident bias, this is what Farrar was doing back then, and is still doing for the Obnoxious Right. So you need to find someone who’s choice/character/views etc. that you trust to not be biased and follow them. Bryce and Andrew Geddis do fine work in this area. But straight aggregation will still give you a very high noise-to-signal ratio, not quite SETI level, but Sturgeon’s Law applies and you’ll still have to do some work yourself. In which case, find some sites that do provide the news you want, get a good RSS aggregator that let’s you pick reporters you want to hear from, or areas you wish to be notified about (actually, a Google Custom Search might give better results) and winnow out the stories you want or need.

    Comment by Mark Harris — September 5, 2016 @ 1:00 pm

  10. So you need to find someone who’s choice/character/views etc. that you trust to not be biased and follow them. Bryce and Andrew Geddis do fine work in this area.

    Mentioning my name in the same sentence as Bryce’s is risking either a lawsuit or fisticuffs at dawn (depending on how wealthy and/or physically imposing you are).

    But … thanks!

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — September 5, 2016 @ 1:06 pm

  11. (Having just impliedly smeared his name and character, let me just say that if you aren’t already getting Bryce’s aggregation service, danyl, you should sign up for it. It really is excellent.)

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — September 5, 2016 @ 1:08 pm

  12. Fisticuffs it will have to be 😦

    Comment by Mark Harris — September 5, 2016 @ 2:01 pm

  13. Perhaps the opposite? Starting court proceedings against rich people ends up like this:

    Far better to sue the impecunious who are unable to afford lawyers … . That, and I’m afraid of physical pain.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — September 5, 2016 @ 2:14 pm

  14. This site needs a “like” button.

    Comment by Mark Harris — September 5, 2016 @ 2:38 pm

  15. Time was bloggers listed each other on the sidebar to form a community. I landed here because another blogged about your post on the need for an aggregator. You have some crowdsourcing / networking going on already. Roll with it to sort by source rather than by title. Producers will become obvious soon enough.

    Comment by John Farnham (@opit) — September 5, 2016 @ 5:35 pm

  16. “………this is what Farrar was doing back then, and is still doing for the Obnoxious Right.

    “…..this is what (David Farrar was doing back then, and is till doing for liberals.” There you go, fixed.

    Comment by Tinakori — September 5, 2016 @ 5:38 pm

  17. This site has potential

    This guy is doing politics stuff, pretty good effort—nz-politics-from-the-beehive-%26-beyond-hvg0h8a9z

    Comment by ropata — September 5, 2016 @ 7:24 pm

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