Reddit gets an edit

Benji Lanyado has created a way to sort through the "link spaghetti"

In case you didn’t get it from President Obama’s site-crashing visit or Poynter’s four-times-tweeted since August 30 article that hailed the site as “the next thing [journalists] have to learn,” Reddit, the self-proclaimed “front page of the Internet,” is kind of a big deal right now.

But it’s a front page with a lot of headlines about a lot of subjects. Right now, topics range from “My mother called this morning … ” to a Reuters’s article about justice in Thailand for the wealthy and well-known, to pictures of cats and koalas. “Link spaghetti,” UK journalist/developer Benji Lanyado calls it.

After a year of lurking on the site and noticing how often he’d see stories on Reddit subsequently appear on other websites or in print, Lanyado decided to code a solution to Reddit’s navigation problems. Four days later, in late July, he’d created The Reddit Edit. The site simply finds the top three most popular (as rated by Redditors) links in six Reddit categories (world news, politics, technology, science, pictures, and the front page - Reddit’s “more cerebral corners,” as Lanyado wrote in a Gchat) and sorts them into clean, simple boxes.

Lanyado says he “rarely” goes to the Reddit main site anymore - thanks to his self-made shortcut, he doesn’t have to. His site has attracted the attention of other media outlets, too - The Atlantic and Mashable, for instance. And, Lanyado proudly adds, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohnanian tweeted about The Reddit Edit “an hour after it launched!”

Lanyado stresses his site isn’t just for journalists looking for something to write about: “I think it’s very useful for non-journalist newsies, too, to get a snapshot of what is interesting on the Web.”

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Sara Morrison is a former assistant editor at CJR. Follow her on Twitter @saramorrison. Tags: , ,