I’ve written on the automated triangulation of news that underpins Google’s news page. It’s a page that I find hugely valuable for watching news break across a really diverse range of sources.
But right now when I look at the NZ Google page – they have one just for us Kiwis – the lead story says that Terri Schiavo’s parents are still fighting to have the feeding tube reinserted – old news. Right beneath that lead story is a piece about the Pope taking a turn for the worse – current news. That’s because those are the stories are being clicked. In all fairness to Google they do indicate the age of the news. And packaged in the Schiavo story is the sad news of her death. Which, despite being more current isn’t the lead.
So sometimes the wisdom of crowds doesn’t always result in the delivery of breaking news – it’s inconsistent. This reinforces a point Stephen Shankland made to me awhile back that we shouldn’t confuse sites that triangulate news with those that break news.
And thinking about my post below – this points to something I am willing to pay for in a news site. Insightful reporting on breaking news with professional editorial management. Hasn’t that always been the business that sets the great news sites apart from the rest. Witness the success of News.com and The Register.
Thanks to Dan for the pointer. Good study and well worth the read:-
There’s a dramatic revolution taking place in the news business today and it isn’t about TV anchor changes, scandals at storied newspapers or embedded reporters. The future course of the news, including the basic assumptions about how we consume news and information and make decisions in a democratic society are being altered by technology-savvy young people no longer wedded to traditional news outlets or even accessing news in traditional ways.
I wonder how much time PR people – agency and client side – spend discussing media strategy and trends. We tend to make assumptions about what people are reading and when. In the (near) future, media planning and strategy will become as an important function to PR as it is to advertising today.
The dramatic shift in how young people access the news raises a question about how democracy and the flow of information will interact in the years ahead. Not only is a large segment of the population moving away from traditional news institutions, but there has also been an explosion of alternative news sources. Some have been assembled by traditional news organizations delivering information in print, on television and on the radio as well as via the Internet and mobile devices. Others include the thousands of blogs created by journalists, activists and citizens at large.
While the outright collapse of large news organizations is hardly imminent, as the new century progresses, it’s hard to escape the fact that their franchises have eroded and their futures are far from certain. A turnaround is certainly possible, but only for those news organizations willing to invest time, thought and resources into engaging their audiences, especially younger consumers. The trend lines are clear. So is the importance of a dynamic news business to our civic life, to our educational future, and to our democracy.