Perhaps you noticed the Daily Newarker has been updating a little more frequently lately. This is in large part due to a new feature we launched this week called the TDN Digest.
In short, we find the most interesting stories, blogs and, yes, even tweets from around the web, every day, so you don’t have to.
We hope you enjoy it. If you want the “inside baseball” on how this feature came to be and how you can help make it better, keep reading.
The (Part-Time) Writer’s Dilemma
Maintaining a publication that’s both informative and timely is hard. Even the guys who are good at it are struggling: with layoffs and mandatory furloughs at the Ledger, being an award-winning paper isn’t worth quite what it used to be.
I started TDN four years ago to build a medium for conversation—a place people can come share their ideas and experiences about our city. Since then, media has continued to fragment; even newsmakers themselves are telling their own stories through media like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
On the one hand, this makes the job easier, providing more content to discuss. On the other, with commitments to family, workplace, and community, how could I possibly keep up with it all?
The Autopilot Experiment
One idea was to set up automatic feeds to update the blog. So I set up a Twitter account to try out that idea.
The popularity of
tdnfeeds</a> took me by surprise, given it's essentially a robot posting updates about Newark from all over the web. Even Mayor Cory Booker has sent messages to this account through Twitter. But, following tdnfeeds is a little like looking for a needle in a perpetual haystack: you have to sift through dozens of updates to find something worthwhile.
A Happy Medium
Experimenting with Twitter this way helped me appreciate the value of editing. I know you trust TDN with your limited time and attention, so I spent a few days writing some software to find that happy medium: highlighting the stories that matter, and leaving aside the ones that don’t.
The TDN Digest enables me to edit on the fly and boil hundreds of articles, blog posts, and tweets down to the dozen-or-so that are worthy of your attention each day. That gives me time to focus on more thoughtful aspects of blogging, like writing, podcasting, and connecting you with Newark products and services.
There are lots of great ways we can develop this format, and I’m excited to announce those in the coming weeks.
One Last Thing…
If you’re enjoying TDN, I’d encourage you click one of the ads at the bottom of this post. Had I contracted out the work to build this new feature, it would have cost somewhere between $500 and $1,000 to create, but you get to benefit from that work for free—pretty sweet deal.
The ads are brought to you by Google, which gives me a very small cut of the revenue paid by the advertisers below. If you click on one of these ads every day or two, it would be a tremendous help.
As always, thanks for reading the Daily Newarker.