News on news

September 26, 2007 at 12:32 pm | Posted in Media, Online services, Web Apps | Leave a comment

Where do you get your news from? Print news is dying. TV news has been degrading steadily into “infotainment”. This leads to declining value and relevancy. There is not enough revenue to support on-line only news services. Whats going on?

Its a change in technology. Michael Wolff, in the October issue of Vanity Fair mentions “Every advance in technology has seen the invention of a new form of news. Linotype got us mass circulation of newspapers 125 years ago; television, the network evening news 60 years ago; cable, 24-7 satellite news 25 years ago. So whats Internet news – what’s the new news thing?”

Its a good question. There are certainly a few news aggregation sites around. Wolff’s own beta evidently has real journalists scanning a wide range of sources. That puts it ahead of automated sites or biased sites like blogs (me too!).

Digg and other social networking sites are driven more by the obsessed and random hits. Its news more in the sense of what interesting at the water cooler.

Sites like Google allow you to create custom feeds based on locations and keywords. But those results are like a search engine results – some good, some lame.

Its also been observed that people who think current news media will survive as is are all over 50. The under 30 never really engaged in traditional mediums en mass. They gain their news through their network and by grazing and sharing.  I get a surprising amount of my news from friends sending me links. Industry specific stuff from newsletters. I have not turned on my TV in months, nor have a read a major paper in that time. I simply don’t have the time. And I’m in the older demographic.

The real winning app will be a news aggregation like Newser, with real journalists vetting content but with heavy customization options to bring you types of top stories, localized news, and key areas of interest. Something trainable like a spam filter. But they better do it soon. Otherwise, the next generation will have developed news habits that don’t include such services…

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