16 October 2008

Yahoo Pipes: Tips For Journalists

Using Yahoo Pipes can help journalists enhance their output and forge links with their communities.

That’s the view outlined by Amy Gahran in her recent blog post on Poynter Online where she provides some tips on creating pipes and suggests how they are relevant to reporters.

First up – what exactly is Yahoo Pipes? According to Yahoo it’s “a powerful composition tool to aggregate, manipulate, and mashup content from around the web”.

In other words, it enables users to remix their RSS feeds, combining them and filtering them to create a unique feed that can then be shared with the world.

And here are some of Gahran’s tips for journalists looking to build their own pipes:

1 – Get To Know Your Feeds

“If you don’t know what feeds are, you’ll need to learn the bare basics - especially which kinds of sites or services offer feeds.”

2 – Be Prepared To Revise

“Don’t expect your Yahoo Pipe to work perfectly the first time you create it.

“Its initial results will probably miss some stuff you want, include some stuff you don’t want, and include some duplicate content.”

Gahran also advises checking a pipe every now and then to ensure all the correct feeds are still coming through.

3 – Be Imaginative

“You can use a pipe’s output to feed interactive maps, special Web pages, widgets, information graphics, and more that can appear anywhere.”

She adds: “As you start experimenting with Yahoo Pipes, sit down with designers and Web developers to discuss possibilities for turning your pipe into something compelling or fun.”

4 – Public or Private?

Creators can elect to publish their pipe so anyone can clone it and amend for their own uses, but Gahran points out that you can also decide not to publish and share your pipe with a select few by giving out its URL.

She concludes: “Learning how to use Yahoo Pipes is one relatively easy-to-learn skill that can enhance your journalism, strengthen ties with communities of geography or interest, and help you find or keep a job.”

If you want to know more about Yahoo Pipes and see some celebrated examples, have a look at this article on Read Write Web entitled The Ultimate Yahoo Pipes Creations List.

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