Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The #jishin_e Daily

A hashtag I follow on Twitter to keep up-to-date on information relating to the Great Tohoku Earthquake is #jishin_e. Today I read a tweet which said "Read The #jishin_e Daily." If that's what it sounded like, then I was intrigued, so I clicked on the link on the tweet. Sure enough, the link took me to an online newspaper called The #jishin_e Daily. I think this format is terrific—it's a more readable format for getting earthquake-related news culled from the #jishin_e hashtag. The site is powered by paper.li. What seems to happen is that the articles linked to in the hashtag's tweets are gathered daily and a preview of the first sentence of each article, along with the source, is shown on the front page. Instead of reading tweets, one reads the actual preview of the articles referenced by the tweets. The result passes for a well-formatted news feed front page. The screen shot above is what today's newspaper looks like "above the fold". To read the complete article, one just needs to click on the preview's title.

I have not tried it yet, but creating an online newspaper on paper.li seems to be free, and one can create newspapers from Twitter and Facebook streams. The set-up process seems to be fairly easy. I'm still regularly impressed by the free services out there which enable one to self-publish online in quality formats. However, I'm usually wary about the staying power of new services. Here's hoping that services like paper.li will live long and prosper.

Jishin is the Japanese word (in romaji) for earthquake. In kanji it is written as 地震 (じしん). The _e in the hashtag #jishin_e refers to the fact that the tweets are in English. There is another hashtag, #jishin, which tags Japanese tweets.

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