NYT becomes an aggregator

An interesting move by the New York Times: it has effectively added a blog-aggregation news feature to its technology pages, as described by Richard MacManus at Read/Write Web. In the middle of the site there’s a column of the top tech headlines from around the blogosphere — in other words, a very Techmeme-like feature — and you can click below each one to see other posts about the same story.

When you click, you go to BlogRunner.com, which is a blog aggregator/headline engine that the New York Times acquired last year. I wasn’t initially that impressed with it when I first saw it (before the Times bought it), but I’ve been back several times since and I think it does a pretty good job. As Erick Schonfeld notes at TechCrunch, the Times is also building content aggregated by BlogRunner into other parts of its site, including at the bottom of news stories (the same way I use Sphere on my posts).

One small design point that I like about BlogRunner, and wish that Gabe would duplicate at Techmeme: there’s an expand/collapse button for the discussion links on each topic heading (Techmeme lets you expand or collapse them all, but then your preference is set until the next time). The Times has also done some syndication deals with PaidContent and IDG, among others.

I think this is a very smart move by the Times, and by tech editor Saul Hansell (who also writes for the Bits blog). Newspapers by definition have always been aggregators and curators of information — both their own and that culled from news wires and other sources. Aggregating Web content from many different sources seems to me like a natural extension of that.

Further reading:

For more on this development, there’s the NYT press release, Saul Hansell’s comments, a take from Scott Karp of Publishing 2.0 and some impressions from Frederic at The Last Podcast.

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