Visual MSNBC Tool Spectra has a new “visual news reader” called Spectra. You pick buckets like politics, sports, etc and it starts displaying news items as 2.5D visual blocks.

I spent some time with it — and I like it. It’s not going to change or replace any of my RSS reading, but it’s a nice change of pace — also reminds me a bit of the Digg Labs work being done.

[ Spectra @ ]

NYT Magazine: The Aria of Chris Matthews

The cover story this past weekend in the NYT Magazine was a profile piece on Chris Mathews – host of Hardball on MSNBC and The Chris Matthews Show on NBC Sunday mornings ( with a smart segment called “tell me something I don’t know” ).

The cover story is a good read, and reveals a few things I didn’t know – but also focuses on the tensions between the various news anchors at MSNBC and Matthews’ off-the-cuff remarks that tend to get him in trouble with certain groups.

What I found interesting was that the piece was trying to make Matthews’ passion and ‘loudness’ into a generational thing — where younger people are more in tune with Colbert and Jon Stewart:

Cable political coverage has changed, however, and so has the sensibility that viewers — particularly young ones — expect from it. Matthews’s bombast is radically at odds with the wry, antipolitical style fashioned by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert or the cutting and finely tuned cynicism of Matthews’s MSNBC co-worker Keith Olbermann. These hosts betray none of the reverence for politics or the rituals of Washington that Matthews does. On the contrary, they appeal to the eye-rolling tendencies of a cooler, highly educated urban cohort of the electorate that mostly dismisses an exuberant political animal like Matthews as annoyingly antiquated, like the ranting uncle at the Thanksgiving table whom the kids have learned to tune out.

For me, I’m able to consume both types of formats, and find myself DVR’ing Hardball and skimming around for the good stuff and then watching certain Daily Show clips online.

It’s also refreshing to have someone like Chris who has a background of having worked on Capital Hill and in the White House and can filter out the noise.

Read the full story online.