Posts Tagged 'news'

Social News: Popularity Vs. Personalization

ReadWriteWeb has an interesting post on “collaborative filtering” on social news sites. The writer makes the point that there are two types of social news recommendation models: one that provides you with the most popular stories from all members of the site, and another that provides you with stories that are personalized to you based on your past reading habits and those with similar interests as you.

There are different camps here: Digg based on the former model of popularity and others such as Reddit, Stumbleupon and Searchles that recommend stories based on various forms of personalization. (There are also services such as Aggregate Knowledge and Loomia, which use some aspects of social recommendations to recommend related articles or products.) However, the two methods, popularity and personlization, are not mutually exclusive. Digg is about to implement a recommendation feature. And many sites, from big media sites to social media sites, could provide both a most popular section as well as personalized recommendations.

Fresh Ways To Visualize News

Online news has gone through many changes since its early days as a mostly text-based enterprise. Video and multimedia presentations are now standard fare on many top sites. But there is still room to innovate in the presentation of stories, audience debates and other information. For large news companies and individual bloggers alike, coming up with new methods of presentation to keep people coming back and stay longer is an ongoing goal.

The Color Of Debate

White Spectrum is an interesting interface to view debate about “White Season,” a BBC’s television series that examines the white working class Britain. The Flash-based White Spectrum arranges the comments as dots in a outer space-like design. Comments are sorted and float towards certain emotions such as anger, fear, hurt, happiness or caring. For example, a comment with the word “abuse” in it floats towards the emotional dot for “hurt.” One can quickly recognize where the intense or angry debate is happening on this potentially explosive subject. (via Information Aesthetics)

Fun With Headlines

Our Signal

An intensely graphical display of news headlines comes from OurSignal, a mashup of social news sites Digg, Reddit, Delicious and Hacker News. The headlines are arranged in boxes, which are categorized by color and presented at different sizes based on popularity. The site’s form follows its functional design , allowing you to quickly zero in on news breaking across this part of the Web.

News As Games

News as Game

But who wants to read news, when you can play games? NewsBreaker is a RSS news reader disguised as a game of Pong. The site was designed by Fuel Industries, for MSNBC’s A Fuller Spectrum of News Campaign. It’s like a souped up game of Pong, except when you break blocks, headlines float down and are saved at the side of the game and can be read later. It’s an example of gaming (“funware“) spreading across the Web. Reading news can be fun. Who knew?

And Much More

This is just the beginning of innovation around news presentation and storytelling. For more interesting ways of visualizing the news, check out multimedia guru Mark Luckie’s take. He has examples of photo streams, live news cameras, map extravaganzas and other interesting designs and presentations.

NowPublic: Don’t Call It Citizen Journalism

NowPublic is one of a group of crowd-sourcing media sites thave have cropped up in recent years. Newsvine, Current, CNN’s iReport and and South Korea-based OhMyNews are others that crowd-source links to news, or let authors write or shoot video of actual original articles. News giant Gannett also jumped in the fray in late 2006. Early on, NowPublic was noted for being one of the few sites to publish AP articles and allow people to discuss them. NowPublic however, doesn’t consider itself a “citizen journalism” service, its founder tells CNet. Instead it’s a brigade of “eyes and ears.”

Some of the others in this area are not shy about calling their services news. CNN’s iReport is taglined “Unfiltered. Unedited. News” and Current says, “You Make The News… We Put It On Television.”

Recently NowPublic released a number of new features, including a points-based ranking system to increase credibility for trusted users of the site; a FriendFeed-like news stream of people’s YouTube, Flickr and Twitter activity that can act as a kind of person’s personal news service; and a personal dashboard of news, photos and videos from whereever people want to receive news.

Coming at the same problem from the local-based approach are a number of local news and information aggregators.

Twitter News Is Fast, But Not Always News

The news whipped around the Twittersphere, buoyed by the micro-blogging service’s ultra-viral speed: Jared Fogel, the famed Subway spokesman, was dead. That’s what eating all that Subway will do to you. Except that he wasn’t dead.

The rumor gained added legitimacy Wednesday morning from Kevin Rose, founder of Digg, who posted a Tweet pouring out some virtual liquor for Fogel. Rose has about 47,000 following his Twitter messages, which spread the news like wildfire.

Rose had taken the bait from Jaredremembered.com, a realistic-looking hoax site.

Twitter has been recognized for its ability to spread breaking news quickly. Recently news broke quickly on Twitter about the earthquake in China. Many journalists have signed on, at the very least to find out about breaking news. But like news sources on the Web at large, what you see is not always what you get.

“It wasn’t anything personal against Fogel,” the creator of the fake site said.

A Virtual Newsroom?

Duke University’s Idealab has an interesting post on the future of the newsroom. Will it be a virtual newsroom, as one venture capitalist suggested to the San Jose Mercury-News’ Chris O’Brien?

With all the problems facing newspapers these days–from Google News on one side to Craigslist on the other–newspapers are clearly in the future going to be more and more on a digital platform and less and less rolled up and tossed onto someone’s lawn. So will the newsrooms that produce the stories also be distributed and connected digitally? Many growing Silicon Valley tech blogs already run remotely with writers and editors spanned across the globe, communicating over IM and email, and rarely even meeting in person.  

The journalists at Duke have an interesting discussion going. Having been at a newspaper, I’d have to agree with those who say that there’s nothing like the camaraderie of a newsroom and the buzz of electricity that runs through it when a big story hits and everyone in the room knows it and feeds off of each other, getting that night’s issue out the door.