News Mixer, the final year project of programming-journalism students at Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University aimed at breathing new life into commenting systems on news sites, was always intended to be developed and adapted further by third parties.
“We got a lot of the hard work out of the way and the code is out there for anyone to play with (…) it’s free. Use it,” Brian Boyer, one of the developers behind it, insisted in an interview last year.
The open source nature of the project has allowed three developers from e-Me Ventures to create Iowa Content – a WordPress-based widget that aggregates localised news content from a range of sources and is connected to Facebook Connect.
Iowa Content is based on News Mixer’s quip function – short-form responses to news items, ideally suited to Twitter or Facebook status updates.
Being linked with the social network will encourage readers to discuss and comment on the news – as well as share links via their profiles.
It’s in the experimental stage right now, but as the intro video below says, it’s about ‘grassroots creation of meaningful content’: