Capstone, Design, HCId, Journalism, Share

Why is this news story important to my life?

Reading the news can be a real drag.

It’s depressing, it’s dense and you wonder if your life or the world would be any different if you read yet another article about the BP oil spill. It’s tough to connect epic war sagas to my life of sitting in front of a computer and hanging out at the park.

Although, I actually love reading the news. It’s full of rich stories and usually great writing. I want use Facebook and The New York Times to connect what’s going on in the world to what’s going on in my life.

Example

Close Senate Races to Test Depth of Voter Discontent
GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. – Two Senate primaries that were supposed to be tranquil affairs have turned into roaring Rocky Mountain shoot-outs that could provide the best test yet of how deeply anti-establishment, anti-Washington sentiment is running this year.

So tell me which of my friends are following this news story, who I know in Colorado, which policies are related to my interests and how these leaders are related to my Senators.

I got the idea when Aditya posted a status citing that his newsfeed content is more interesting than the New York Times. And, he’s not the only one who feels this way.

Nina Mehta is a writer and product design leader in Brooklyn, New York. She began her design career in journalism and has been writing online for 20+ years. Nina is from outside Chicago has since lived and worked in San Francisco, Berlin, London, and Tokyo. Learn about her work at ninamehta.com.

4 thoughts on “Why is this news story important to my life?”

  1. Chad says:

    If you do pursue this avenue for your capstone I would be interested in how you address the following concerns:

    Social news reading experiences are certainly interesting, and there is value to knowing what kind of stuff a group of friends is reading. As I am sure you know, a big problem in journalism (at least the spirit of it), is that so many people just consume news that resonates with what they already believe. I wonder if new media and social news stuff with “likes” and “recommendations” ends up providing false evidence that what one person thinks is accurate or worthy news is indeed so, since so many other people “liked” it.

    Also, from what I have seen on Twitter, Facebook, YouTub, and various other digital social spaces – I wouldn’t trust the collective wisdom there to report what the weather was like yesterday. The Internet has given everyone a voice, and to be honest I feel at times that the majority of those voices are not qualified to speak on the matter. This is an interesting conundrum, since it is valuable to give everyone a voice but also necessary to know which voice to listen to. (And I don’t think voting things up or down works – for about a billion reasons that I won’t go into here.)

    Ultimately, the mob is fickle and tends to focus only on the stories that appeal to the most base of socioeconomic needs. I trust certain individuals, not the masses.

    And finally, as a bigger issue frequently brought up but seldom addressed, how much privacy has to be given up in order to achieve “better news reading experiences”? Of course a big problem comes with how we define “privacy”, since that word means a lot of different things to a lot of different people.

    Anyway, good luck! I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

  2. Jaap Frolich says:

    Did you check out the flipboard app for the ipad. All the news and stories that are mentioned in your facebook or twitter account will be converted to a easy to read personalized magazine. Very impressive!

  3. admin says:

    Flipboard is beautiful. The team did an excellent job to make something that feels native to the iPad. The design and the motion is just right. Very impressive, indeed.

    I’ve used it and read a lot of talk about the design. I’d be interested to learn how many people are using it daily, or even weekly.

  4. John Wayne says:

    Nina, I use Flipboard daily. It helps me find new stuff, but I find a lot of it pretty irrelevant, which sucks. I’m hoping for some cool new features (like adding your own rss feeds, or at least my flickr friends) in the upcoming versions. What’s great about Flipboard is that it brings my news feed into a much better and easier to read format. It doesn’t do much with social reading beyond reading what comments other people (not just your friends) have left on ‘articles’.

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