LazyWeb: River of Arbitrary News?

Tech question: Can anyone out there point to anything that allows you to create a river of news from an arbitrary list of URLs? For example, Dave Winer has done that with the NY Times — see, which I use regularly — and I want to do the same thing for a few other sets of outlets that I track.

I’ve looked at a host of feed mixers, from Yahoo Pipes to Feeddigest, but none worth way I want to — or are without major limitations in terms of formatting or number of items.

Admittedly, I could just grab all the RSS feeds, put them in a feedreader, and then use that as a folder, but for some reason part of my lizard brain wants it as a reverse-sorted web page with brief per-item synopses and sectional breaks. I’ve no idea why.

[Update] Appreciate the comments, but I think some people are misunderstanding the question. In a sense, what vexes me is that it’s so hard to subscribe to a basket of feeds. For example, the WSJ has twenty (or more) RSS feeds, and it is adding to them all the time. I don’t have time to maintain all these subscriptions, let alone doing the same thing a host of other sites. I want “rivers” for the main sites in which I am interested. Make sense?


  1. willybanker says:

    You might like to try out ~ to a certain extent it is doing exactly what you want, although I’m not sure what exactly you mean by “arbitrary URLs” –
    It’s what I use to aggregate all my news for ease of online browsing and on my crackberry. Streamlined, efficient, free and web-based – so all I need to do is log in once, and now I just go to that one site.

  2. can recommend – though maybe overkill for your purposes

  3. You can do it in NewsRiver, which runs inside the OPML Editor.
    If you install the app, there’s a NewsRiver menu in the menu bar, I think it’s pretty easy to figure out. If you want I’ll happily help you get up the curve. Send me an email at the address on this post and we can arrange a time to talk.

  4. This is how Google Reader works.
    You add your feeds, give them one or more tags, and then click on the tag to see your “river of news” (do folks use that pet-name anymore?) for every feed with that tag in either a list view or an expanded view.
    Then if you want, other folks can subscribe to your “river of news” as well.

  5. We have a product called Blogdigger Groups that does this. The user interface needs some work, but functionally it aggregates blog posts from whatever feeds/blogs you specify and provides a reverse chronological page of posts/excerpts, along with an RSS feed and search across the archives. It’s at, I’m happy to help if you have any questions on how to get it set up.

  6. Personalized Megite may be worth a look:

  7. Attensa’s outlook add-in RSS Reader has a river of news view as well.

  8. Still not sure if I understand what you want but it kind of sounds like you want your own personal Digg with an rss importer. This may be a little over the top but you can have someone build you a website. It is an free open source form of digg. Once its built, you can input all the rss feeds you want and then have them import as often as you like using the rss import feature. You can even add categories in case you only want to just look at tech, business or sports.

  9. I understand what you’re asking for — we call them reading lists. They’re OPML files you subscribe to. I offered to help get you going, and the offer still stands.

  10. Wasn’t sure what you needed at first – then I saw the update and thought of this – might be more work than you have the time for but :::
    Requires a little knowledge of Regex’s but once done – you can effectively create a ‘river’ from anything you choose.
    Also – if you want one “big” river from all the sites – you could effectively set them up in Feed43 and then bring them into Y! Pipes and merge them. Easiest way described here, more vexing methods available on request. Cheers

  11. John Stark says:

    Sounds kind of like My News Network ( They let you combine feeds into a globally shared reading list.

  12. Cathleen Rittereiser says:

    I think Grazr might be what you’re looking for.

  13. Hi Paul,
    Why don’t you give us a go and see if we can help. We provide fully customised RSS feeds based on aggregating from specified sites but also content based feeds. The problem with monitoring lots of feeds is that you may find yourself drowing in the river you’ve created.
    I have some feeds where I am interseted in 50%+ of the posts but a much wider number of feeds where I only find maybe 10% interesting. A little bit of applied technology can probably filter out most of the stuff I don’t want making it easy for me to absorb the info I want from a large number of feeds, even ones I don’t know of.
    For example, I’m rarely on this site but I got an alert today that you were asking about news aggregation, hence my post.
    Drop me an email with the kind of thing you’re interested in and I’ll send you a custom feed so you can get a better idea of what I’m on about…