Monday, February 20, 2006

Newsvine: Good news?

An interesting new web news site is currently in beta testing (and not generally open to the public). You can see its frustrating login page at:

I believe the main ideas behind this site are:

  • They carry many news articles, feeds from major news agencies.
  • Newsvine users vote on which stories are more important, so readers tend to see the more popular stories.
  • Newsvine users add additional stories to the site as well. There's a one-button click to add any story you are browsing, and these are also voted on.
  • Newsvine users can also write their own columns at the site.

The site encourages informal tagging, so you can try to find, say, news stories about archeology or Japan or beef. And people can comment on every item, so that you're generally not reading a story in a vacuum, but (you hope) along with someone's sensible comment or explanation.

I think the popularity of the site will depend on whether people who keep a Newsvine window open will feel well-informed. (The headline mix certainly differs a bit from Yahoo or Reuters.) The site is boosting its readership gradually, to see how they scale up and how well their model works.

Newsvine does address one of my great concerns about news on the web. There are news sites that try to figure out what interests you, and show you similar stories. But who will try to show me important stories I would never have looked for? (Good newspapers do that all the time.) Well, perhaps Newsvine will, due to its reader voting mechanism.

If you're terribly curious about Newsvine, please email me; I have a few invitations to hand out.

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