HOME
          
LATEST STORY
The Internet Archive hopes to boost its collections through funding from the Knight News Challenge
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Sept. 21, 2012, noon
Reporting & Production

First look: Spundge is software to help journalists to manage real-time data streams

It’s like Evernote for TweetDeck for Google Reader for WordPress.

Many power users of Twitter consider TweetDeck essential for managing multiple streams of data. Once you adapt to its overwhelming user interface, the software becomes essential. And addictive.

Spundge logoImagine being able to add more real-time sources to TweetDeck — RSS feeds, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube — and you have something like Spundge, a web app that launches in public beta today. The software is being marketed initially to journalists and is being tested inside a few news organizations.

“The problem is today’s journalist has to use too many products and applications to do their job, and very few of these were actually built with newsrooms or journalistic workflow in mind,” said Craig Silverman, the corrections guru who is working with Spundge to help develop the product for journalists.

“Spundge is a platform that’s built to take a journalist from information discovery and tracking all the way to publishing, regardless of whatever internal systems they have to contend with,” he told me.

A user creates notebooks to organize material (a scheme familiar to Evernote users). Inside a notebook, a user can add streams from multiple sources and activate filters to refine by keyword, time (past few minutes, last week), location, and language.

Spundge extracts links from those sources and displays headlines and summaries in a blog-style river. A user can choose to save individual items to the notebook or hide them from view, and Spundge’s algorithms begin to learn what kind of content to show more or less of. A user can also save clippings from around the web with a bookmarklet (another Evernote-like feature). If a notebook is public, the stream can be embedded in webpages, à la Storify. (Here’s an example of a notebook tracking the ONA 2012 conference.)

The software is free, but an optional $9 monthly fee adds premium features, including the ability to share notebooks with collaborators, who can also add to the notebook and see changes in real time. Quartz, The Atlantic’s new business vertical, is the first news organization to become a paying customer, Silverman said. (Notebooks are perfect for a reporter’s beats or, as Quartz calls them, obsessions.) Silverman said The Guardian and JRC’s Project Thunderdome are also experimenting with the platform.

Say you’re a reporter for the Las Vegas Sun covering the razor-thin Senate race in Nevada. You might set up filters to look for any items mentioning “Berkley” or “Heller” or “poll” or “attack ad.” Your editor can join the notebook as a collaborator and add items you might have missed, or monitor your findings for story ideas.

Premium users can also compose stories in Spundge. Drag and drop items from the notebook into the text window for easy blockquoting and footnoting. The software hooks into WordPress for publishing, though Silverman said Spundge is not meant as a CMS replacement.

“I need something like three different apps running on my computer just to do that important job of tracking and surfacing information. Then I have to use other products to collect and organize the information I want to save. And I have yet another product or two I use two write and publish,” Silverman said. Spundge is meant to be an “end-to-end” solution to that problem, he said.

POSTED     Sept. 21, 2012, noon
SEE MORE ON Reporting & Production
SHARE THIS STORY
   
Show comments  
Show tags
 
Join the 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
The Internet Archive hopes to boost its collections through funding from the Knight News Challenge
The home of the Wayback Machine and other efforts to preserve the Internet is among 22 projects based around libraries receiving $3 million in funding through the Knight News Challenge.
Constantly tweaking: How The Guardian continues to develop its in-house analytics system
Since its launch in 2011, The Guardian has consistently made changes to its in-house analytics tool, Ophan.
Bloomberg Business’ new look has made a splash — but don’t just call it a redesign
Bloomberg digital editor Joshua Topolsky on uncomfortable news design, new ad units, and why they killed the comments.
What to read next
2902
tweets
Don’t try too hard to please Twitter — and other lessons from The New York Times’ social media desk
The team that runs the Times’ Twitter accounts looked back on what they learned — what worked, what didn’t — from running @NYTimes in 2014.
728From explainers to sounds that make you go “Whoa!”: The 4 types of audio that people share
How can public radio make audio that breaks big on social media? A NPR experiment identified what makes a piece of audio go viral.
722Q&A: Amy O’Leary on eight years of navigating digital culture change at The New York Times
“In 2007, as digital people, we were expected to be 100 percent deferent to all traditional processes. We weren’t to bother reporters or encourage them to operate differently at all, because what they were doing was the very core of our journalism.”
These stories are our most popular on Twitter over the past 30 days.
See all our most recent pieces ➚
Encyclo is our encyclopedia of the future of news, chronicling the key players in journalism’s evolution.
Here are a few of the entries you’ll find in Encyclo.   Get the full Encyclo ➚
Davis Wiki
NBC News
FiveThirtyEight
Daily Kos
Next Door Media
Voice of San Diego
Public Radio International
California Watch
The Daily Show
McClatchy
Newsweek
San Francisco Chronicle