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article imageNew Features: Geographic Location, Improved Search and More

By Chris Hogg     Jun 18, 2008 in Internet
This is just a quick note to let you all know we've rolled out a few new features.
We've based these on requests made by everyone in the community so thanks again for your feedback. Some of these new features pertain to everyone, while others are more specific to citizen journalists. If you're not yet a citizen journalist, we invite you to sign-up now!
Here's what's new:
Improved Search
When you do a search on, you can now browse through your results much faster with more specificity. We now let you search news, blogs, users, groups, images and even comments. If you're looking for something specific we're trying to provide all the necessary tools to sort through the abundance of media on the site.
Find Other Users' Content Quickly
With everyone being able to upload images, news, blogs, etc. we wanted to make it faster for you to find another user's content. Now, when you hover over any user's name, you will see a pop-up so you can go directly to a specific section of content. When you hover over a user's title, you get options to view their blog, news, images, votes, comments, groups and events. You no longer have to click twice to get to someone's content -- just hover and click once.
Blog Sorting
The blog widget on the front page now acts just like our news panel, allowing you to sort by latest blogs or top blogs. All blogs can be sorted based on votes, so if you want to see the most popular blogs you can browse "Top Blogs" and if you want to see the most recent content you can view "Latest Blogs."
Selecting News Categories
If you are a citizen journalist writing an article, you will now see a choice of what type of article you are writing: News, or opinion. We get both types of articles quite frequently on the site, so we want to allow citizen journalists to clearly define if they are writing a hard-news piece or if it's more opinion-based. When a citizen journalist makes his or her selection, we will automatically put "Opinion" in front of the headline so it's clear you are writing an Op-Ed. You no longer need to write "Op-Ed" in the headline! We will potentially expand on this feature in the future, allowing you to search for either news articles or opinion pieces.
Selecting Geographic Location
With citizen journalists all over the world, we get news from China, the United States, Britain, Australia, Canada, India and more. That said, we've introduced a tool for citizen journalists to select a geographic location for their articles. So when you write about a news event in Iraq, for example, you can select the country from a drop-down list to identify where the event is taking place. If your event pertains to multiple geographic locations (like if it involves the U.S. also), we also allow you to select multiple locations.
As a special tool, we also have a button called "Auto-fill from article body" that will scan your article for countries listed in it, and automatically apply them for your geographic location(s). If your article is not specific to a particular country (like Google announcing a new Web tool, for example), you do not need to select a country.
This is a big feature with a lot of future benefit, as it will give us the opportunity to start localizing news.
More about Announcement, Digital Journal, Citizen journalism