About

Compound Observer is a news aggregator that we built because we noticed that there was an interesting parallel conversation happening in the United States between news agencies of differing ideological bias, in what what they were discussing and when those discussions would occur. We wanted a tool that made that conversation easier to see and explore.

FAQ

What sites does this site spider?

We currently spider the following news sites. This table lists the publisher, the feed we draw from, and what bias they currently have within the system.

Name Feed URL Bias
Huffington Post https://www.huffingtonpost.com/section/us-news/feed link -1.000
Vox https://www.vox.com/rss/index.xml link -0.750
Mother Jones http://feeds.feedburner.com/motherjones/feed link -0.750
MSNBC http://www.msnbc.com/feeds/latest link -0.750
Democracy Now! https://www.democracynow.org/democracynow.rss link -0.750
The Atlantic https://www.theatlantic.com/feed/best-of/ link -0.500
Reuters http://feeds.reuters.com/reuters/topNews link 0.000
The Wall Street Journal Opinion http://www.wsj.com/xml/rss/3_7041.xml link 0.500
The Federalist http://thefederalist.com/feed/ link 0.750
Fox News http://feeds.foxnews.com/foxnews/latest link 0.750
The National Review https://www.nationalreview.com/feed/ link 0.750
Breitbart http://feeds.feedburner.com/breitbart link 1.000
Red State https://www.redstate.com/feed/ link 1.000

How did you select these sites?

Each of these sites has an RSS feed that we can access programmatically. This was a primary selection criteria. We are actively evaluating additional sites to add. If you have suggestions, please feel free to contact us.

How did you assign bias to the sites?

We draw media bias information from the following projects:

The way we do so is unideal and unscientific, and we feel bad about that - but only so much. One of the long term objectives of this site is to improve that.
If you've got vitriolic hate mail productive suggestions about how to change these weights, we'd be happy to hear them.

But XYZ site is pretty accurate! Why do you say they're biased?

The assignment of bias isn't a qualitative statement or an assessment of how factual content is or tends to be, but rather how frequently it is presented with analysis or opinion mixed in. For example, two news stories on a topic frequently will include the same basic facts but wildly different (and frequently, parallel) talking points on what those facts mean. Furthermore, even though these talking points may differ dramatically, they may be equally valid in what they choose to discuss.

Of course, when sources differ there is also the chance someone is wrong. If this is the case, further reading from a variety of sources is one of the best ways to suss out the truth. Making this review easier is one of Compound Observer's objectives.

We hope Compound Observer assists in dissolution of echo chambers by presenting differing viewpoints. None of our weights should be read as either an endorsement or a detraction - they are simply a best attempt at a finger in wind. They're an estimation based on consensus, and should be taken with a grain of salt.

Roadmap

The following features are currently planned for development:

  • A Better Search
  • Better Chronological Display
  • More sources
  • Stuff

This is of course subject to change, and whim.

How is this site funded?

We were simply going to run ads, so we applied for Google Adsense - but apparently we're too small at the moment. So while we intended on running ads, scratch that, no ads. We may run them in the future if we find the right partner. Want to advertise with us?

Subscriptions? What does that get for me?

So our only mechanism of support right now is our pay-what-you-want subscriptions. They grant a number of perks:

  • Disables the ads that currently don't exist.
  • Supports the site and helps us feed the kids and pets.
  • Makes you feel like a great person. (You are!)

All for the price of a candy-bar. Or a beer. Or a lunch. You decide!

Wasn't this built by some big corporation?

The Midnight Corporation, the creators of this site, are a tiny bootstrapped consultancy from Portland, Maine. We chose the name because we wanted something with a nice cyberpunk ring to it. In fact, this site also acts as a technology demo for our consulting services.

Which is to say, we'd much rather have you as client. Got a software, design, or data problem? Let us help you make sense of it all. Check out here for more info.

Either way, if you enjoy this site we'd appreciate your support. The more subscribers we get, the more time we can justify putting into expanding what it can do.

Questions? Comments?

You can contact us here with any questions, comments or suggestions.