rp08 - 0.5

re:publica´08
Die kritische Masse

Speakers
Wolf Richter
Tobias Escher
Schedule
Day 1
Room Workshop 2
Start time 14:00
Duration 01:00
Info
ID 196
Event type Lecture
Track lauschen und rauschen
Language English

The Performance of Distributed News Aggregators

What are the paradigms of online news productions? To what extent do new paradigms like consumer aggregation platforms (i.e. Digg) perform?

The immediate gathering and the direct dissemination of information over the Internet has enabled a shift in the news production process away from industrial publishing companies to the users, readers, and consumers empowered by shared digital information spaces. This shift comes in two dimensions:

(1) An Internet user has the possibility to gather and publish news items over the Internet and (2) An Internet user can search and aggregate her own news from the abundance of freely available content on the Internet. While the first dimension turns every user into a Citizen Journalist, the second empowers Internet users to become the editor of her personal "Daily Me".

In recent years a variety of different paradigms have emerged within the space of online news production, ranging from the publication of traditionally edited news stories by professionals on the web (e.g. BBC News online) to completely consumer generated aggregation platforms (e.g. Digg) with a variety of mixed models (e.g. OhMyNews, Global Voices) in between.

We are interested in the performance of these different news production paradigms. News is a relative good, because what information is "news" is determined by subjective and geo-temporal factors. We will focus on two performance indicators that have been identified as critical by previous research: (i) Frequency, that is how often are news updated (assuming that the more often, the better), and (ii) continuity, that is are individual news stories followed by further, potentially more in-depth coverage (assumed to be good) or is attention allocated to random anecdotes, which are forgotten as quickly as they emerged.

In order to compare the performance of different news production paradigms we have developed a tool to automatically monitor the feeds of Digg News, BBC News, OhMyNews, International Herald Tribune, Global Voices and Slashdot. Our methodology aims to enable a largely automated assessment of the performance measures frequency (so far easy) and continuity (so far difficult) in relation to the aggregation paradigm employed.

Our results so far indicate that the frequency of news reporting depends very much on the topic of the news with more distributed aggregation paradigms being the most up-to-date for technology related news. However, more traditional paradigms are stronger in focusing on certain stories and in-depth coverage. We will also provide an outlook on the challenges and opportunities these findings may pose for the online news production market.