Posts about daylife

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.

Daylife news has the story of the investors behind Daylife, the news startup I’ve been helping. There will be more coming out soon as we are close to a public launch. It’s all very exciting at Daylife HQ and I look forward to sharing more imminently.

(This, by the way, was what I was referring to on my disclosures page when I said I couldn’t reveal the investors behind a startup I was working on.)

Jay Rosen announces an important experiment in journalism today:

In a nutshell: This is publicly supported journalism. The public will come to with story ideas and will collaborate on honing them there. Once assigned by NewAssignment’s editors, the public will contribute both money and reporting to the work that reporters are paid to do. The process is open and the public will have a strong voice and role in the journalism NewAssignment does. Editors will supervise the assignments and the reporting and will edit the stories, assuring that NewAssignment produces quality journalism and also that it is not overtaken by a pressure groups. There’s much more to this with many nuances and Jay examines them all in a lengthy (even for him) FAQ on his blog.

This is an answer — not the answer — to the frequently asked question in the shrinking news business these days: How will we support journalism and investigation? NewAssignment will not replace the work of professional news organizations. It will complement them, attacking the stories that are not being covered. It begins with an article a few articles faith. First: The public will support journalism and investigation. Second: The public will then want more of a voice and a role in that reporting. Third: Given the opportunity to have more of a voice and role, the public will contribute more support. It’s a virtuous circle, if it works.

Jay got funding from the MacArthur Foundation to explore this idea for a year. NewAssignment just received a grant from Craig Newmark‘s personal foundation to fund the work on a pilot project. And NewAssigment is getting help from Daylife, the news startup I’ve been working on. That relationship: Daylife will gather, analyze, organize, and create a new, distributed platform for the world’s news. In a sense, then, NewAssignment is complementary: Daylife shows you what is being covered and New Assignment fills in a few of the gaps about what is not being covered. Daylife will provide some technical and distribution help, starting with a pilot project.

I’ve known about Jay’s vision for NewAssignment for more than a year now and I’ve thrown in my two cents. I think this is an important experiment in pro-am, publicly supported, open journalism. We must explore new business models to support coverage of news and this is one of them. I’m an enthusiastic supporter of NewAssignment and I look forward to working with Jay and you on it and learning a lot along the way.

This is your chance: You’ve said you wonder why some stories are not getting covered. Well, now you can gather together and get them covered. You’ve wanted more of a role in journalism. Now you can be involved from start to finish. You’ve known facts that would matter in news coverage if only you could be heard. Now, you can.