I like this idea a lot. The NYT is using some of their money to play around with a feature that allows you to zero in on a story and then follow along subsequent articles on similar topics. From Nieman:
The task (or, more accurately, one of the tasks) for beta620, the Times experimental projects group, is to find a better way to make the newspaper’s information more readily available — both to readers and to the Times itself. Their latest stab at the problem is something they’re calling Deep Dive, a project that aims to give readers a richer, more nuanced understanding of stories.
Deep Dive uses the Times’ massive cache of metadata from stories to go, as the name suggests, deeper into a news event by pulling together related articles. So instead of performing a search yourself within the Times and weeding out off-topic results, Deep Dive would provides readers a collection of stories relating to a topic, based on whatever person, place, event or topic of their choosing. So let’s say you’re interested in protests in Yemen, with Deep Dive you could use an article from nytimes.com as a seed and let the system collect a history of previous items relating to news from the region.
Cool stuff. Sorta makes me think about a Twitter-like structure for consuming news, where you can subscribe to different topic streams and follow along. For what it’s worth, if the NYT were to segment their reporting, so that I could directly donate to a part of the organization that followed union activity, environmental reporting, financial malfeasance cases and other stuff that piques my interest, I’d pony up. And as long as I knew that money was in no way going towards the salaries and travel charges of Tom Friedman, Bobo, Gail Collins and the rest of the clowns, I’d be happy to do so.