Daylife dawns

I’m excited to report that Daylife, the news startup I’ve been helping on, has launched its site today. Take the tour here.

Actually, Daylife launched its platform a few weeks ago, without fanfare and trumpet, powering the new exportable, embedable NewsTracker on the home page of the Huffington Post (click on a name there and you’ll see pages of news and features about newsmakers built through the Daylife API). As I’ve explained it in email to a few folks, Daylife is a platform of news applications that will feed not only its own site but also, via its API, sites large and small that want to bring new ways to view relevant news to their readers.

I do believe that this is an important element in a new architecture of news, which I’ll write about more later. The service gathers, analyzes, and organizes the news. That analysis will enable us to show news from a high altitude — who’s covering what, where — but also, even more important, it enables you to see the connections in stories among people and topics. Making those connections is what news is all about. Because it is a platform, it helps news sites put their own news in context and present the world of news to readers — which is what readers demand. And because it is a platform, Daylife helps news organizations distribute their relevant headlines and links into the tentacles of the web. We think this is a new way to experience the news, distribute news, and make connections in the news.

It’s a start — a beta — with much more to come. And so please make generous use of the feedback button on the site.

Note that the only thing that is created by editors is the cover you’ll see on the home page. Everything else is automated. I’ve been saying that I am the only editor on earth who is not building an empire. But that is just why it has been so exciting to work on Daylife, to collaborate with an incredible technology team assembled by founder and CEO Upendra Shardanand as they find new ways to analyze, understand, display, and distribute news. I believe that what this does in the long run is send people — and thus support — to journalism at its source.

So more later. As much as it pained me as a blogger and newsman, I chose not to blog this first. Others are writing about it now.

I suggest you go to the site, put in the name of a newsmaker you are interested in, and go from there. It will be like popcorn: You won’t be able to stop.

: LATER: Michael Arrington, among others, criticize Daylife’s lack of RSS and interactivity. No disagreement. Nature of a startup: some things get onto the boat at launch, others hitch the next ride. RSS was one of the last features to get delayed until a later release; it’s coming. I had subscribed to various of the test feeds and got addicted quickly, so I, too, am eager for them to come out. Interactivity is an interesting question for a platform: Is the use of the platform on sites everywhere a rich form of interactivity itself? What is the best form of interactivity on the site: comments or contributions? (This is a corollary to Arrington’s question the other day about whether a blog is a blog without comments…. My own answer is that a blog is a blog if it is involved in a conversation via links or comments.) So I don’t think the answer about interactivity is necessarily as obvious as it may at first appear. But the bottom line of a beta remains: There are lots of good things in the pipeline but at some point, you need to get the platform and product out so people can use it and show you what it can and should be. That’s where Daylife is today. So all this feedback and more is incredibly valuable. And that will be even truer as the full API is released and other sites show us what they want and need and what they can invent around the data Daylife provides. So please do keep clicking, commenting, criticizing, wishing.

  • FYI, your link to Huffington is missing a letter.

    Daylife sounds like it’ll be fun — on my way to check it out.

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  • I just perused the site. Why would I want to read anything from the BBC, ABC, NYT, LA Times, Reuters, CNN, or MSNBC?

    Their audience is old, dying, and off-line.

    The days of platform subjugating substance are waning.

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  • Jeff:

    Since you’re asking, an immediate, Blink suggestion I’m sure someone’s already thought of: the frontpage thumbnails should have a headline with them when I mouse over. Right now I just see the date above and “Getty Images” below. A headline would help me decide.

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  • Congratulations, Jeff, to the launch of Daylife. Interesting approach to news in the online-era.
    Yet I strongly disagree with you saying “it analyzes the news”. At best, it puts together some statistical numbers about the flow of the news and it’s redundance. This is not news-analysis but search-engine vodoo which has nothing to do with relevance whatsoever.
    Interestingly enough I see more and more of our collegues in the media switching their personal habits from being complete newsjunkies to very delibaretly picking a handful of trusted sources and authors (and bloggers) which provide a much more efficient way of getting a view of the world.
    At the same time, all my not-so-media-savvy friends tend to become stressed out newsjunkies, getting lost in the ocean of sugar-coated peanuts in an age of everything-is-realtime-and-therefore-news. It’s tempting at first, and then it gets overwhelming and frustrating. Or why is it Daylife claims to have a “hand-picked” selection of topics on it’s “Cover”?

    I am completely conviced that, while the “gatekeeping” days of journalism are over, the “sorting and preparing”-job will become more important as we see portals flooding people with “here’s everything completely raw, go figure out out what’s important to you”.

    Funny enough you praise the machine-made linkage in Daylife as addictive as popcorn. It’s exactly the comparison one of my journalistic teachers used to challenge the newspapers tendency to catch up with all the noise in electronic media and turn away from background and news-analysis to publish more, shorter and more entertaining “news”. It’s like Popcorn: Buckets of tasty flakes lacking any nutrition value.

    The “New Yorker” has never tasted better.

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  • Peter,
    The analysis is what powers, for example, the connections among players. So from, say, Angelina Jolie’s page, you traverse connections to Africa and the U.N. or to Hollywood and celebrities. There’s more to this that isn’t visible in this iteration and the top-down view isn’t visible at all. But those are examples of what can be tamed from the API.
    As for the role of editors, which is what you’re really talking about, I agree; in a completely open world, there’s more need for editing (read: no gatekeeping but selection, digging, vetting, and adding perspective) than before. As I said above, I think we’re heading to an architecture — not just technical, but in a business sense — of needing to support (find, send audience to) journalism at its source; we hope this powers that. Finally, it’s also necessary for editors to present not just their coverage but their coverage in the context of other coverage (here’s our story, says the Times of Anytown and here’s the coverage of the Timeses of New York, London, and India). These, I hope, will be tools that help you and your harried friends – which is all of us — find better coverage, coverage closer to events, coverage from different perspectives.

    Thank you. Good feedback. Keep it coming.

    There are thousands of sources with more being added constantly (especially blogs). I know you there are sources to please you in that sauce.

    Thanks. See, yes, there is always a need for editing.

  • Peter is right, people handpick news filters. Unfortunately, filters have to spend 90% of their time debunking “sources”.

  • Why would I want to go to a site that only had “some sources to please” me but others that chafed me?

    My chi coach insists that I avoid all possible irritation. Other aggregators, filters, or my own self-direction will fill that prescription.

    Triangulation and balanced opinion quotas will prove a fad in the interregnum between Old Big Media and the nascent New Media.

    Hah! I used the “word of the day”.

  • I hope Daylife stands above the news aggregator crowd. All the best.

    On a related note, MediaVidea blog has a story on types of bloggers and the dangers associated with blogging.

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  • I don’t find Daylife that exciting:

    “You must have Javascript and Flash version 8+ enabled to see this content.”

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  • Ben Sparks

    looks like Sploid 2.0

  • Rod Wallace

    What is the big deal here? It looks like Microsoft designed it. Plus screen navigagtion is sloooooooooooooow.

  • Beta or not, the site severly lacks depth.

    When one of your investors crtitizes your efforts it’s time for a reevaluation.

    And I’m still left asking myself, what’s the purpose of DayLIfe???

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  • Congratulations. I’ve enjoyed being a beta user and had really good luck diving into stories where the angle I was interested in was different than the popular angle. I wanted to know if Allen Iverson was being a good teammate in Denver and how Lance Armstrong trained for the NYC Marathon. In both cases I was able to find the article I wanted in one click.

  • Where do you click on Huff Post to see your engine integrated? I was one of the private beta users & a huge fan of the actual site. I’d love to see how it was integrated into HuffPost.

    – Sean

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  • Andy Curran

    No punches pulled here: Your concept needs plenty of refinement, and your interface blows.

    Unlike some of the previous posters, I don’t give away advice.

    Interface testing and designing is my specialty, so please email me at the address I provided, and maybe we can work a deal out.

    Please don’t consider this a smartass post…consider it an offer to help. If you pay me to help make your concept better, it’s win-win.

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