dotSource from Jena has launched Newskraft – a semi-social aggregator of local news – in public beta yesterday. Newskraft scans more than 200,000 blogs for stories specific to geographic regions and reorganises them as a portal of news of your neighborhood.
Stories can be browsed by various categories (misc, economy, politics, sports, culture) or by city / postal code. Members of the site can vote for stories, tag them, add comments or correct them if they have been falsely classified by Newskraft’s discovery engine. Or they can contribute stories of their own, either by adding links or by writing and publishing articles on the site.
While I like the idea of this hybrid between blog aggregator, digg and citizen journalism portal which potentially reconstructs the most interesting local stories as a local newspaper filtered by one’s interests the current results are aleatoric at best and their heuristics for automatically labeling stories and filtering out irrelevant noise need to be vastly improved to make the site informative and enjoyable.
The community of readers can jump in and flag bad stories or categorize and geolocalize interesting blogentries of course, but as is they need a strong and dedicated community and they need it soon to make Newskraft fly.
Company blog: Blog
(This article originally was written for blognation Germany. Since blognation is gone I have reposted it here)