Trending Topics for news stories
September 15, 2010 9:40 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for something like Twitter Trending Topics, but for news topics.

If you go to Google News, in the upper left-hand corner, you see a list of current top topics being covered in news stories. I'm looking for something like that, only programmatically accessible without screen-scraping. Google Trends has a Hot Topics section, but that includes not just news, but also Twitter traffic, and the quality seems to be consequently pretty poor. Anyone know of anything like this?
posted by andrewpendleton to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Google provides a number of RSS feeds for Google News, including one for top stories. The output is not exactly the same as the list in the top left corner, but you may be able to run it through Yahoo Pipes to get it how you want it.
posted by Partial Law at 9:54 AM on September 15, 2010

Google trends
posted by ijsbrand at 9:57 AM on September 15, 2010

Google News doesn't expose the topics in its RSS data, so absent running all of the individual news stories through something like Calais, the top stories feed isn't of much value.

Also, as I said in the original post, Google Trends doesn't do this. They list top terms being searched for, and top things mentioned across news, Twitter, and other social media sites. Neither of these is much like what's in the news. Compare Google's top stories from Google News:
  1. Michael Castle
  2. Japanese yen
  3. Deepwater Horizon
  4. SEC Football
  5. Reggie Bush
  6. Israel
  7. Hamid Karzai
  8. Nicolas Sarkozy
  9. Pope Benedict XVI
  10. Internet Explorer 9
to Google's current Hot Topics:
  1. wto boeing
  2. vick
  3. tea party
  4. taxes
  5. survivor nicaragua
  6. shaquille o neal
  7. pope
  8. ovide
  9. meat dress
  10. lamontagne
There's really not much in common between the two, and I'm looking for one more like the former. I'm not particularly partial to Google, either; I know Yahoo and others do this kind of aggregation, but haven't found a way to get at their data, either.
posted by andrewpendleton at 10:50 AM on September 15, 2010

Stories are color-coded by category and the larger the story, the more coverage it's getting. You can choose to toggle visibility so you only see the categories that matter to you.

It makes it fast to scan the top news. And it's awful pretty to look at.
posted by missjenny at 11:19 AM on September 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Thanks, missjenny, this is closer, but what I'm really looking for is, rather than a headline like "Pope Benedict XVI set to begin controversial state visit to Britain," I just get "Pope Benedict XVI." I'm more interested in the things being discussed than the headlines.
posted by andrewpendleton at 1:57 PM on September 15, 2010

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