61FRESH: A new twitter-based news aggregator for Boston

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Today GlobeLab is releasing 61Fresh.com into early beta.

Check it out here!

We’re trying to find a way to bring all the news generated through the day in and around Boston into one place. And that means ALL the news, no matter where it’s reported: daily papers, monthlies, weeklies, our many radio and TV stations, blogs, town governments, etc. We’ve curated over 500 news sources in the Greater Boston area.

So that’s a lot of news. How do we find the small number of Boston stories that matter right now?

The current approach: We’re downloading a real time stream of the local Twitter posts (originating roughly within Route 128) that link to stories on one of those 500 sites. Every tweet represents a vote. Our algorithm mixes popularity with freshness and a couple other ingredients, discounting the value of 'official' accounts and bots. We group similar articles together, generating a diverse feed that changes frequently throughout the day.

Instead of the headline chosen by the news source, we use the text of the first tweet we find about the article, thereby letting the community contribute directly to how each story is framed. A complete list of the twitter users who linked to this story is also provided.

This is Boston, so our feed tends to have a lot of sports in it on certain days. Not a sports fan? Just click on the Sports Mute check box on the top of the page and we’ll do our best to filter out any story with a ball or a puck in it. The technology behind Sports Mute is one of the fruits of our Knight-funded MIT partnership – stay tuned for more topic-based filtering along these lines!

We've been inspired by great automated, crowd-driven news aggregators like TechMemeFuego and Reddit.

And a tip of the hat to the Knight Foundation, which generously supports our work at GlobeLab.

This is a work in progress – we’d love your feedback (and a better name if you’ve got one ☺).