Scoop! and modern day news feeds

By | 15 January 2018

I am guessing not many people will remember Scoop, a board game which first came out in the early 1950s and is now considered a collector’s classic (still available to buy online, or look out for at charity shops.)

Basically a card collection game, the object was to fill the ‘front page’ of a newspaper by collecting or buying (?) cards until you have a ‘story’ (ie 3 cards showing a Reporter, Photographer and a Telephone). A call is then made ‘to the editor’ on the supplied cardboard telephone,  where you find out if your story is going to be syndicated or binned.

If approved the player takes the top card from the ‘Story’ deck and, places it on their newspaper page – the winner being the player who completes the front page and goes to press, with the highest value stories and advertisements, and a stock of cash (for the legal fees when someone takes you to court of libel?).

This was a real family favourite for us, partly because the telephone to the ‘editor’ (who made all the decisions as to whether a story got to print) was an intriguing piece of cardboard technology

… and partly because I never stopped wanting to see the photos, news stories and adverts (already dated/vintage by the time I was playing in the 60s) and to try and fill my chosen paper’s front page with some of my favourite pieces.

Five UK newspapers of the time provided covers to be filled.  Three of these are still in publication – The Daily Telegraph, The Times, and The Daily Express ( The News Chronicle ceased publication by 1960, and the Daily Sketch closed in 1971) but even our leading established papers are now struggling in hardcopy against the (free?) online services available to us all on PC, tablet, or phone, when we need it, wherever we may be.

And we actually no longer have to choose a single news source, because we can pull together news from a variety of sources in one place, updated as soon as it is ‘pushed’ out online, via news feed readers. There are a number of very smart and flexible apps to do this – see review articles from the Next Web or Digital Trends for a selection of the best.

The Bodleian Law Library has tried a number of these over the years, to keep an eye on legal news in particular, and to maintain current awareness services. We started with Google’s early, simple, and very good, reader; moved on, with its demise, to try Netvibes and are now using Feedly, a free and straightforward feed aggregating tool, where we can monitor incoming news items and post out topical items to our followers on Twitter or Facebook.

We have collected a number of feeds, not only from traditional news services but also from blogs and webpage RSS output, and organised these into sub topics.

We can either view an aggregation of the news by clicking on the folder header …

… or we can focus on an individual feed’s output by clicking on the feed title.

From here, we can see what their regular output is (in the case of Civil Litigation Brief, for example, it is 12 articles a week), and can click on the feed title to go directly to their news or blog page, to read the item in full and then save or share to email, or social media.

As soon as an item is ‘published’ at source, the customer receives it in whatever format their feed reader allows (and some provide quite elaborate ‘magazine style’ presentations eg Flipboard) . It is then quick and easy  to save and organise news items, or add to boards to refer back to or share with colleagues or students.

The difference between the old Front Page and the modern Feed ‘home’ for the same newspaper is not just in layout, design and presentation but in standard online features such as searching and filtering, which allow for speedy access to articles of interest and a continuity in reading (broken occasionally by adverts or pleas for donations).

You can still read your daily paper on the commute by bus or train, but now on a smart phone or tablet instead of a space invading broadsheet.