HOME
          
LATEST STORY
A mixed bag on apps: What The New York Times learned with NYT Opinion and NYT Now
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.
A mixed bag on apps: What The New York Times learned with NYT Opinion and NYT Now
The two apps were part of the paper’s plan to increase digital subscribers through smaller, targeted offerings. Now, with staff cutbacks on the way, one app is being shuttered and the other is being adjusted.
The newsonomics of new cutbacks at The New York Times
The Times found success with its first round of paywalls, disappointment with its second. Is it hitting a paid-content ceiling?
With limited time to revamp WNYC’s Schoolbook, John Keefe decided to take his team on the road
The new Schoolbook will have targeted emails, major content partnerships, three languages, and more — and building it took just seven days.
What to read next
751
tweets
Wearables could make the “glance” a new subatomic unit of news
“The audience wants to go faster. This can’t be solved with responsive design; it demands an original approach, certainly at the start.”
677Designer or journalist: Who shapes the news you read in your favorite apps?
A new study looks at how engineers and designers from companies like Storify, Zite, and Google News see their work as similar — and different — from traditional journalism.
596Ken Doctor: Guardian Space & Guardian Membership, playing the physical/digital continuum
The Guardian is making its biggest bet on memberships and events by renovating a 30,000 square foot space to host live activities in the heart of London.
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 ➚
Conde Nast
The Times of London
Arizona Guardian
The Ann Arbor Chronicle
Time
ProPublica
The Globe and Mail
Bloomberg
Circa
Seattle PostGlobe
Mother Jones
Daily Mail