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You may remember a that Google trialed a bit of code with the New York Times and Washington Post called Living Stories:

Living Stories are a new format for presenting and consuming online news. The basic idea of a living story is to combine all of the news coverage on a running story on a single page. Every day, instead of writing a new article on the story that sits at a new URL and contains some new developments and some old background, a living story resides at a permanent URL, that is updated regularly with new developments. This makes it easier for readers to get the latest updates on the stories that interest them, as well as to review deeper background materials that are relevant for a story’s context.

It wasn’t long before the code became open source for people to tinker with. You need to be prepared to tinker a lot if you want to run it on anything other than Googles AppEngine (and even then you’ll be tinkering for a while). But now that tinkering may be over.

Google have announced the release of a special theme and collection of plugins that allow you to create a version of their Living Stories using WordPress as the base.

I’ve had a quick play and (once I got over a mistake with the installation. I’m a donkey!) it certainly makes it’s presence known. Look at the updated  dashboard!

The post page becomes redundant as you get a choice of a raft of different content types organized in to stories by assigning categories.

You start by defining a category for the story and then creating an event. You can then add other elements and, hey presto, it starts to package it up.

There is no fancy timeline but the way it breaks the content up would make for an interesting approach to group work on a project.

Worth a play.

HT to Charles Arthur (@charlesarthur) for the head up to this one

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