Martin Belam has introduced a new UK news site aggregator to the masses, under the moniker of Chipwrapper. It sources fresh articles from all the major broadsheet and tabloid newspapers, plus a smattering of ITN, BBC and Sky articles (because he thought it would be "weird" to not see these contributors in his aggregated content) but there's no content featured external to British publications.

If you've never been to a British fish 'n chip shop, here's a brief introduction to the historical significance of the name "Chipwrapper": takeaway fish 'n chips have traditionally been wrapped in newspaper (it tends to be a good insulator and it's cheap, and it's one of those comforting familiarities) - a chip shop which doesn't wrap your stuff in yesterday's newspaper is either snobbishly upmarket or very popular because they've run out of sheets! I think it's quite an apt name.

Anyway, here's Martin introduced his project to the Backstage mailing list:

Hi all, I wanted to introduce... a site I've been working on, and invite you to have a play with the feeds being produced, and maybe help make some new tools for it.

Called Chipwrapper, it is intended to be a hub for searching purely UK newspapers and UK news sources.

OK, I know, I know, the Chipwrapper metaphor doesn't work once you add TV news. Originally it was strictly newspapers only, but it just seemed weird to be searching UK news and not see links from the BBC, ITN and Sky.

The homepage is a headline aggregator and a Google Custom Search Engine which only brings back results from the major UK newspapers, plus the TV news giants.

I plan to add regional and local newspapers to the results later in the year.

There are Opensearch plugins and a custom Google Toolbar button for the service.

There are also some RSS feeds for news headlines, sport headlines and football headlines - with some rugby-flavoured stuff to come to tie-in with the upcoming world cup.

There's also a Headline Buzz feature. It uses a longer Yahoo! Pipe which takes ten headlines for each source -
- and then analyses the most popular words.

The top 7 words (at the moment) appear on the Chipwrapper homepage as the Headline Buzz links, but there is also a headline buzz RSS feed.
This has all of the words (minus "stop" words like 'the', 'of' etc) that appear more than 3 times in the set of headlines in popularity order. It refreshes every hour.

There's a page on the site about making DIY stuff, with links to all the feeds and the original Yahoo! Pipes I've used to mash-up the newspaper content in one place.

Personally, I think this is great for those of us who enjoy reading around but don't like relying solely on Google News (or trusting it, for that matter) to deliver an impartial spread of national and international news. Really, all that's missing is a 'myChipwrapper' feature where you can choose your own pick of the newspapers for display - then I could eliminate all those awful tabloid newspaper articles and just have articles from the quality broadsheets. Nevertheless, it's a very useful little thing to have on your bookmarks, and I'll certainly use it again... Chipwrapper might just grow on me.


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