Patching up the news

New media models are a dime a dozen right now, but none of them are great.  None of them make me, as a journalist, say “wow.”  None of them make me want to integrate their “innovative” technology with my own news writing.

It is great that small, independent news organizations are creating applications that localize the news and make it constant.  However, they are still clinging to the old model in most ways.  They believe that by tweeking one or two small aspects of journalism, then they have created something new and revolutionary.

Patch is an example of one of these technologies.  It is great that they have created a news site that reaches people across the world and allows users to localize their news.  However, updates are not as continual as TBD.

These are fine initiatives, but not enough.  We need to start over, keeping in mind only 2 concepts:  the goal of the news and basic journalistic ethics.

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Breaking News: TBD

So TBD is cool…we get it.  If you haven’t seen it already, definitely check it out.  It has some pretty interesting ideas for new media and reporting.  The stories are updated throughout the day in various categories including entertainment, sports, commute, weather and news.  This is definitely something to commend them on.  The range of TBD is small, focusing on the DC metro area.  However it does merge with a local ABC station, creating journalistic synergy.  TBD has become a newspaper, website and television station.  Very cool.

However, TBD has gained an obscene amount of attention across the field.  I guess I am just another blogger giving them extra attention, but I genuinely feel the need to express my opinion.  It isn’t negative, it is a legitimate critique.  I do think TBD is doing some great things, I just think more can be done for future projects.

TBD has a small audience, this is their personal focus and great for them.  However, it would be awesome if future projects could reach a broader audience, while honing in on individual needs.

Is the “news” section genuinely newsworthy?  Some stories are interesting, but others seem a better fit for features including Carousel on the National Mall. This story if part of the Examiner’s website, but TBD links to it under their “news” section.  In their defense, I believe their focus is less on news and more on other aspects including entertainment and communities.

TBD definitely focuses on community, which is great for individuals within the DC area.  You can go to TBD for a broad base of news but also check out the “community news” or “county news” sections under “news” for more specific information.  This is a step in the right direction for more specialized news, which I critiqued them on earlier (however I do think we can be broader with our news initially).

TBD also allows readers to interact with their website and stories by adding comments and social media.  This has already been done by most newspapers.  However, readers can type in their location for more specialized stories.  Registered readers can also save their locations and items of interest.

One key concept that TBD has not developed is the concept of citizen journalism.  Therefore, reporters and writers for TBD must be part of their staff.  This means they must go through and interview process and be hired for a position.  This is relatively normal, but it would be great if more news outlets could incorporate more citizen journalists in the process of news.

Overall, this is a new project, a step forward and something I will be interested in following.

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