News Compilers  -  Jim Miller on Politics

News Compilers

News Compilers are sites that primarily collect material from other news sources.  The people who run these sites identify articles, columns, or editorials that they think you might want to read. and then provide pointers to them.  Most have some original material as well, but the bulk of the site goes to links to other sources.

(For quite some time I called these sites "news aggregators", which is clumsier than "news compilers".  A reader suggested this alternative, which I had missed, most likely because of my software experience.  Anyone who has worked very long with software will think of a a compiler as a program that translates source code into machine language, and will tend to forget about the other meanings of the word.  Thanks to the reader for the suggestion, and if I ever find his original email, I will thank him directly.)

Arts & Letters Daily provides an "updated report of news and reviews" on philosophy, aesthetics, literature, language, ideas, criticism, culture, music, art, trends, breakthroughs, disputes, and gossip.  Very few of us would not find something of interest in that list.  In today's (8 January 2004) issue, I see pointers to an article on the Modern Language Association's shift on Afghanistan, to a book explaining why we have too many choices, and to an essay from David Mamet on why we should avoid the word, "relationship".   Like its companion site, SciTech Daily, it has a fine set of links to other sources of information and opinion.

Matt Drudge, judged by his visit count, about three million a day, has a better insight on what readers want than most editors.  Gossipy, more populist than conservative, he covers many stories that the Atlantic or the New York Times would find beneath their notice.  Like most gossip columnists, he is willing to publish a story that might be true, even without complete proof.  In this, he is not so different from many "mainstream" journalists, as Drudge showed in a clever speech to the National Press Club.

Most treat his "scoops" with some caution.  He has beaten everyone else at times, notably on the Monica Lewinsky story, but he has also published stories he had to retract.

The site also has an extensive list of links to standard news sites.  If those aren't enough, try his father's site for even more links to news sources, and references generally.

Lexis-Nexis is the commercial indexing company that keeps track of both legal writing (Lexis) and news (Nexis).  I had not realized until I did a search for "news compilers" that they also have this free news summary, which looks quite useful.  And if you look in the top right corner, you will see that they offer some free searches, something I definitely plan to take advantage of.

Lucianne Goldberg, who gained notoriety as Linda Tripp's friend and adviser, has a site that gives a slice of all the news of the English speaking world.  Most of the site consists of entries with a few lines describing an article, a link to that article, and the comments of readers on that article.

Most of the posts are made by readers.  To add a comment or to put up a post, you must register.  At one time registration was open to everyone, now you have to go on a waiting list.  I am not sure why this is so, since I can't think of any technical reason for the limiting the number of people who can post.

The top of the site lists significant articles of the day, with often witty, and sometimes catty, comments.

Jewish World Review shows what can be done by a single determined person with some Web skills.  Binyamin Jolkovsky has created this site, with its mixture of Jewish issues and conservative commentary, by himself, on a shoestring.  (If you want to know more about his story, read this.)  Many of the best conservative commentators are here, along with some less known, and a few liberals.  Don't miss the cartoons by the best cartoonist in the United States, Michael Ramirez.

Neale News is a Canadian site, modeled on the Drudge report, with a similar mixture of political news and gossip from the entertainment world.  Naturally there is more focus on Canadian news, which is one of the things I like about the site.  Neale's site has a much nicer design than Drudge's, with neat tabs for different kinds of content.  (And I would say that even if he hadn't both linked to me, and given me a very detailed and useful answer to a question I had about Canadian polls.)

Newsback sent me an email asking for reciprocal links, and I have obliged.  I am still deciding just how useful the site is, but I do like the fact that they have different interests that most in the "mainstream" media.

Orbusmax is another site modeled on the Drudge report, but with a focus on the Pacific Northwest, broadly defined to include Alaska and Western Canada.  It includes links to the main search engines.

Rantburg was originally grouped with the individual blog sites, but I think it fits better in this category.  Their main interest is in stories on security and they have quite an extensive links to that kind of story, as well as commentary and comments.

Real Clear Politics is an essential site for anyone who wants to follow American politics.  Each day, it has a set of links to newspaper article, columns and editorials, almost all well chosen.  It has a set of tables giving the latest poll results that are constantly updated.  The commentary on the site is often insightful, though it sometimes needs a little more proof reading.

SciTech Daily is a great compendium of science and technical news from all over the world.  Each item is introduced with a few lines that let you decide whether you want to read full the story.  The site includes several useful sets of links, including most major science publications and sites.  I don't know a better way to stay informed, quickly, on science.

Slate gets two links in my list.  This one is for their newspaper and magazine summaries, which I should probably pay more attention to.   You can, by the way, get the newspaper summary by email, and I suppose that I may sign up for that some time.

Yahoo site was one of the first successful "portals", Web sites used as entries to other parts of the net.  Although it has changed and evolved, it is still a good place to start, especially for the standard kinds of news.   One warning: They link to the BBC and Reuters for much of their foreign news; both organizations have serious problems of bias in covering Israel and terrorist issues, generally.

Last revised: 8:57 AM, 9 March 2006