Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Spain’s Eldiario.es has 18,000 paying members, and its eye on the next several million
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.
Spain’s Eldiario.es has 18,000 paying members, and its eye on the next several million
“We have a potential of six million readers. You may not convince all six million people to be your socios, but if you learn more about their interests, you can get closer.”
Chasing subscriptions over scale, The Athletic wants to turn local sports fandom into a sustainable business — starting in Chicago
“It’s very easy today to be click-driven and produce articles that don’t have a lot of substance or depth and don’t cost that much to produce, but that dynamic is disappointing for fans who want higher-quality content.”
Hot Pod: We now have new, free rankings to show how podcasts stack up against each other
Plus: Parsing the RadioPublic announcement; premium podcast subscriptions; Bill Simmons oversimplifies things.
What to read next
0
tweets
The American Bystander is trying to revive the humor magazine with a reader-supported business model
“Our idea was that we were going to create one of these things in a classic format and see if there was enough interest to sustain it.”
0Algorithms, clickworkers, and the befuddled fury around Facebook Trends
“Trends are not the same as news, but Facebook kinda wants them to be.”
0With new columns and newsletters, ProPublica is trying to attract new readers and have more fun
“There’s a huge benefit to coming up with features that are more fun and more interesting. It appeals to a different audience and can create closer connections with readers — they can see a different side of us.”
These stories are our most popular on Twitter over the past 30 days.
See all our most recent pieces ➚
Fuego is our heat-seeking Twitter bot, tracking the links the future-of-journalism crowd is talking about most on Twitter.
Here are a few of the top links Fuego’s currently watching.   Get the full Fuego ➚
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 ➚
The Nation
The Daily Telegraph
Investigative News Network
ABC News
Politico
Houston Chronicle
The Blaze
Bayosphere
The Ann Arbor Chronicle
ReadWrite
Placeblogger
The Huffington Post