October 1, 2007
-- by James Boyce
The situation in Burma is tragic and the result of decades of horrific military rule that has reduced one of the most beautiful places on earth to a tragic ruin where monks in robes flee from soldiers with Chinese-made automatic weapons.
One of the tragedies of the situation is despite the efforts of groups who have been trying to expose the situation on the ground in Burma. Groups like WITNESS and US Campaign For Burma have been fighting against the apathy that is our current corporate media culture.
If Britney was driving a young monk without a seatbelt, there would be a chance to get some coverage but sadly, young monks are smarter than that.
If Anna Nicole Smith's baby's father was one of the generals, well, they would be building permanent tv stations.
NewsLadder is something that I have been working on for the better part of the year. Actually, longer. In my experience with the Huffington Post, and watching the progressive movement grow and change how we communicate and advocate, I am very convinced of not only the need, but the power of, the concept of aggregation online.
Here, with the Burma NewsLadder, and as you will see, this is the first of many community / state ladders we will be launching, all the news, from all around the world will be aggregated on the ladder.
Links / Posts / Video will all be voted up or down, by both a broader public - all visitors can sign in - but also by a group of editors - you can see news as ranked by editors, by all visitors, by what's new, however you like.
NewsLadder will work for the bloggers because it will drive traffic to their sites. You can't read the posts on NewsLadder, you can just see the links and the comments and the rankings of the posts. All bloggers can post links to their sites, and other people's sites too. The circle of traffic creates energy, and more traffic. It also puts a blog post on equal basis with a NYTimes newspaper article. All news is created equal on NewsLadder. The good moves up, the bad news go down, regardless of source.
NewsLadder should also be helpful to bloggers as a resource because it lets them stay on top of an issue that any given NewsLadder is dedicated to: in this case, we will have, hopefully, hundreds of people posting and linking to and looking for the best stories on the situation in Burma.
Ironically, we will then have "democracy" in action because everyone can vote stories up or down, so the best stories, the best writing, the best video, the best articles, the best blog posts move up the ladder.
Anyone can post a link. Anyone can vote something up or down.
I also believe that NewsLadder will work for readers because there is a single site with the best thinking and writing of a community, sorted not only by editors, but also by their votes and comments. Close to 40% of all folks voting Democratic last fall still don't go to blogs. A lot of time, it's because they don't know where to go. NewsLadder will help with that.
It will work for the corporate media because they can take a short cut and go to one site and see what's up. Or someone running for office, they can take the pulse of the community by stopping by.
But it will only work if people like you go post, add comments and bring attention to
So why Burma?
Well, the tragedy is that, perhaps, with more interest and more focus. Perhaps with a place for everyone interested in Burma to gather. Perhaps with a site like the Burma.Newsladder, we would have been able to draw more attention to the situation earlier, rather than later.
So please, take a moment and swing by www.burma.newsladder.net.
It still is in development, still a few bugs here and there. (email me anything you run into if you can at email@example.com)
Sign up, sign in, add your comments and post / link to anything you wish. Editor's Choice is ranked by Editor Recommends (There will be more editors added to Burma NewsLadder over the coming days, if you know anyone, send them my way.)
What's Up is ranked according to comments, reads and a complicated formula that Trei understands. What's New, that's easy, that's the latest stuff added. You can search by tags, by Editors and more.
Finally, everything aggregates up into the primary NewsLadder. My goal is make this the ranking system of the community online. I have done what I can over the past 24 months to help elevate and integrate the community; I hope this helps.
And yes, there will be advertising and in the future, hopefully profits, 10% of the profits from each ladder will be donated back into the community the ladder serves. More if I can afford it.
Thanks for reading. Thanks for visiting. Thanks for the help. And there's one more reason, why Burma?
My father was in the State Department in Burma in the 1950s after he graduated from the Fletcher School. He got kicked out by the Communists and wasn't allowed back in the country until 1984. While he made it back to his beloved Burma, he never made it home from Boston from that trip. So I am trying to do what I can to help the country and a people he loved so much.
I appreciate comments and suggestions and if there is a NewsLadder you would like to edit or help with, please email me. California is in soft launch right now, while Texas, Veterans, Iraq, Green, Massachusetts and Virginia are all in development, but we could use more help.
(Hat tips for their help to: Nate Wilcox, Lowell Feld, Dave Johnson of this great site who has been my partner on the side of good in many battles already, Trei, Pablo, Jerome, Seth, Owen, Ned, Joe, Julie, Arianna, and many more....)
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