Conrad Fox

Collaborative border-free journalism for a digital world. Also robots and soccer.



newsicles screenshot
  • Webextension plugin for bookmarking pages
  • Readability clone strips content of ads
  • Full text search of bookmarked pages
  • tagging
  • natural language processing classifies pages and extracts entities

Newsicles

Bookmarks are so limited. Unless you can remember the page title or the url you may never find that oh so important page again, that one you know you saw once that had that one piece of information you need to finish your article or end a debate. To save me the tedious task of trawling through my web history, I created Newsicles, a database of bookmarked news articles that strips them of advertizing and other cruft (using this python version of readability) and provides full text search of their content. Then I added tagging to the articles to group them around subjects and story ideas. When I found even tagging too tedious, I added a Natural Language Processor that guessed at the main subject based on frequency, and identified people, places and organizations within the text. Eventually, I plan to create a database of those newsworthy entities -- the fundamental particles of news -- because that is how I want to read the news: as clusters of information around different entities, rather than wading through a series of reports on whatever ephemera a journalist classified as an "event" on any particular day.

The project is based on Django and written almost entirely in Python (except for the Firefox plugin). Although its appy nature makes it prime fodder for a Javascript web framework, I've bent over backwards to build the whole thing with the Django toolkit, making sophisticated use of templatetags and ajax calls to update parts of the page as necessary.

This is a work-in-progress and not available for use yet. Get in touch if you would like to know more.


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Hello. I'm a journalist, radio producer and teacher. I've worked in Latin America and the Caribbean for most of my career. My work has taken me across a minefield, into a gunfight, paddling a dugout canoe and inside the homes of many brave and generous people. I have also produced several major international reporting projects where a large part of my job was recruiting and mentoring local reporters. I love teaching, and besides journalism, I have taught soccer, robotics, anthropology and English.


What they say

Conrad is a reporter's reporter - courageous, compassionate and creative. No easy press conferences for him. Conrad takes on assignments that might scare off others and always delivers. A first-rate storyteller.

Leda Hartman

Public media editor and journalist, USA

Conrad Fox is one of the best editors I've ever worked with. His professionalism, his journalistic sensibility and his skill at teaching enrich the editor-reporter experience

Mely Arellano

Founder / Editor Lado B magazine, Mexico