About

My name is Eric.  Thanks for visiting my news blog.

The purpose of this blog is twofold.  First, I want to provide a curated set of daily headlines (News) and a daily archive of past headlines (Old News).  Second, I want to provide a platform to reflect on current events and provide a commentary (Takes) from time to time.  My goal for the commentary posts is to make them brief, topical, informative, interesting, amusing, and thoughtful.  I’ll try to follow a theme, take a position, include links that reward the curious, and include an image when relevant.

I hope you’ll find these posts entertaining and sign up to have them emailed to you.  You can sign up for the news headlines (on the News page), the commentaries (on the Takes page), or both (best deal).  Also, please leave a comment if you have something to say.

You can also contact me at ericscottdouglas (at) yahoo.com.

DIY

If you’d like to set up a curated news blog (the News page) like this for yourself, here’s an outline of the procedure to duplicate this site.  (This isn’t necessarily the sequence that I followed, because I was working backward from the intended outcome.)  This is NOT a detailed description of every step, but it does include the big pieces you’ll need.  It’s not simple and it’s not free, but it’s the simplest and cheapest method I could figure out to create my own daily list of headlines.

Domain

You will need to find and register a domain.  I was using WordPress.com, but, in order to capture and display news headlines, I needed to use a plugin.  To have this capability on WordPress.com requires an upgrade to a plan that costs several hundred dollars annually.  However, you can run plugins for free if you use WordPress.org.  But, to do this, you must have your own hosted domain url.  You can go to GoDaddy or some other domain search company to search for an available domain name and register it.  The cost for this will likely be around $10 – $20 per year.

Hosting

You’ll need to host your domain.  Several options are available.  You can expect to spend around $50 per year.  You can use GoDaddy for this as well, but there are many others from which to choose (see recommendations from wordpress.org, wpbeginner.com, and websitesetup.org).  Depending on the hosting package, you may have to install WordPress (or, it may come pre-installed).  So, the expenses so far are around $60 per year.  It’s not free, but some single news sources charge that much just for their content only.

JSON Content Importer

You don’t need to spend a lot of time setting up a fancy website.  WordPress has several themes from which to choose.  I suggest you choose one that has a static front page.  Then, download and activate the JSON Content Importer plugin.

News API

The next step is to go to newsapi.org and get an “API key.”  This will allow you to use a hyperlink to generate “JSON” content.  The JSON content, in this case, is the news headline data.  The challenge is that you need a way to display this data.  (You can process the JSON output at jsoneditoronline.org to see what it looks like, but you still need a way to display it on your own website.)  This is where the JSON Content Importer comes in.  The code can be a bit tricky.  Here is a comparison of the JSON Content Importer code using a News API url, the JSON content that it generates, and what the final output looks like:

The code works like this:

If you’re using the latest version of WordPress (using the Gutenberg engine), you can build your headlines by starting with a JSON Content Importer block.  Otherwise, you can use the code as shown above.

Jetpack

Finally, if you want to provide an option for people to receive email updates with your headlines, you can install the “Jetpack” plugin.  This will give you the option to let people ‘follow’ you or subscribe to your posts.  Of course, this assumes that you will turn your daily headlines into posts.  I do this by copying and pasting the headline output from the “News” page to my “Old News” page (the blog page).  It would be great to find a way to automate this process, but, for now, I just do it manually.

I also like to vent my frustrations with the world by posting my opinions on a blog page.  It would be handy to have all of this in one site, but WordPress only likes to have one blog page per site.  So, I use the “Old News” page on this site as the blog page to archive headlines and I use the blog page on my old WordPress.com site for my rants.  Until I figure out something better, that’s what I have to offer.

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