Catching up… Topix, one of my favorite news search engines that nobody talks about (though that’s getting less true every day) has launched “virtual news bureaus” for local folks to submit news. Topix is now available at http://www.topix.com .
When you first go to the site you’ll be offered local news from your area (if Topix can figure it out from your connection.) You also have the option to search for an area by city or zip code. I went to good old 90210.
The Beverly Hills Page is laid out like a blog with recent news stories. Often a human will be editing the stories, but in the case of Beverly Hills it’s up to RoboBlogger. Tabs, which do not look like tabs, at the top of the screen also provide access to Beverly Hills forums, wire service stories, and classified ads.
I wanted to see page edited by humans instead of robobloggers so I tried The NYC page, which is indeed edited by humans. Two of ’em. The news page was filled with everything from stories on Earth Day to commercial real estate to local crime stories. The forums were equally diverse in their discussions (very lively forums), as were the wire stories.
If you’re a longtime user of Topix you might be missing the ability to search the entire database, as now the site looks very news-focused. You can still do it: go to the Wire page of a locality and look for a news search form on the right. You’ll be able to search news, blogs, or both, restrict your search to certain countries or sources, and so on. I like the local offerings, but I think I’ll be going back to Topix’ standard search more often.