Tag Archives: personalized news

Pew: Internet now third most popular news platform

The Pew Internet and American Life Project is out with their latest report on how Americans consume news.

There are many highlights in there, so I’ll just mention a few that are direct quotes from the report’s summary. I would strongly recommend that you read the rest for yourself.

  • The internet is now the third most popular news platform, behind local television news and national television news
  • 50% [of Americans] say they read news in a local newspaper
  • The majority of online news consumers (57%) say they routinely rely on just two to five websites for their news
  • 75% of online news consumers say they get news forwarded through email or posts on social networking sites and 52% say they share links to news with others via those means

  • The most popular online news subjects are the weather (followed by 81% of internet news users), national events (73%), health and medicine (66%), business and the economy (64%), international events (62%), and science and technology (60%)
  • 75% of online news consumers say they get news forwarded through email or posts on social networking sites and 52% say they share links to news with others via those means
  • Some 28% of internet users have customized their home page to include news from their favorite source or topics and 40% of internet users say an important feature of a news website to them is the ability to customize the news they get from the site
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    Asking better questions gets better answers: Interview2010

    Asking the right questions is critical in getting compelling answers from sources, as all reporters know. A problem with online comments is that they are often unfocused and off-topic given the open nature of many commenting systems.

    Asking the right questions is critical in getting compelling answers from sources, as all reporters know.

    Yahoo! researcher Yury Lifshits has built a tool called Interview2010 that aims to help get better answers from readers through a structured question and answer system. The readers can share their answers through social networks, and publishers can use the content on their sites.

    Yury has written up a set of questions relating to our last panel on personalized news, which has already generated several responses. Go see what people have written and give your own take on the issue at http://hackshackers.com/interviews/.

    Hear Yury talk more about his project in this video:

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    Hacks/Hackers as contact sport

    Things got a little heated at the Hacks/Hackers event on the Future of Personalized News.

    After founders Dan Olsen of yourversion and Ethan Gahng of lazyfeed talked about providing relevant stories to readers, some in the crowd pressed them about how to pay the creators who craft all that quality media that audiences want.

    But as Dan and Ethan pointed out, they aren’t making any money themselves and are still trying to figure out their business model. Ethan said he didn’t think advertising would pay the bills.

    Freddy Midi of Netvibes said he’s now cash flow positive, helped by a move to sell dashboards to companies who want to monitor their brand online.

    Dan Cohen, a veteran of Google, Yahoo and Pageflakes with years of experience in Web personalization, pointed out that there’s only one content aggregator making big money at the moment: Google.

    What if news organizations themselves offered a more personalized experience and better user interfaces: Could that create news applications that readers would pay for, especially on a device like the iPad?

    We’re all trying to figure this out. We need to combine the technologists’ laser focus on user experience with the great writing, photography, video and other media produced by skilled journalists. That’s really what Hacks/Hackers is all about.

    One thought that comes to mind from the panel is whether there would be a way to take the personalization technology from yourversion or lazyfeed and incorporate it directly inside a news site. What if news organizations themselves offered a more personalized experience and better user interface: Could that lead to news applications that readers would pay for, especially on a device like the iPad?

    Something we didn’t get to at the panel: Serendipity and getting away from the echo chamber.

    With all the talk about personalization and giving readers what they want, what about the pleasure of finding something unexpected? We didn’t touch on how to enable the joy of discovery. (As an amusing aside, here’s the background on the origin of the word “serendipity.”)

    Audiences are also increasingly going to partisan information sources whose positions they already agree with. That could lead to more polarization and extremism in society, a phenomenon known as “group polarization” that is discussed in this New Yorker article.

    What do you think?

    I hope we’ll continue the dialogue in the comments below — I’m sure the panel could have gone on for hours last week.

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    Panel on Future of Personalized News

    Thanks to all who attended the Hacks/Hackers meetup on the Future of Personalized News! I’ll be writing more about the event in a separate post — things got a bit heated at times and there was some good debate about how to ensure quality content survives in the aggregation age. The archived livestream is below, and here’s a written summary on Google Buzz by Abe Epton of Google News. (thanks Abe!)

    Photos from the event are here. (Thanks to Todd Lappin for helping with this!)

    And here are Tweets from the event.

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