News is broken. In a Twitter Generation most people just read the headlines before getting incensed and outraged... for 15 minutes. For me, I try (and often fail) to make a point of reading the whole article before forming an opinion. Often times reading many, many articles. I find myself wishing there was a great deal more supporting information on the page so that I don't have to work so hard to discover the truth.
But I'm a news and information junkie, right? The mainstream audience doesn't need or want that kind of detail, right? It's not worth the effort because it won't generate more revenue for news orgs right?
History is replete with examples of convention wisdom underestimating the audience (E.g. they just want 140 characters or 2 minute snackable videos) and pioneers daring to give them something more and, in the process, succeeding beyond anyones wildest dreams.
Vice comes to mind as a recent example. In an era where people said "young people don't care about news" and "they can only watch 2 minute videos" Vice has managed to deliver long form, in-depth news pieces that young people are eating up like crazy.
Given this, I'd like to see more from news content and/or news platforms. I'd love to see news that presents the articles along with the following additional data included (there are interesting possibilities for UI innovation here - but in most cases a simple hyperlink would probably suffice).
- Timeline of events for this story (circa does an amazing job here)
- Broader historical context and precedents
- Supporting/contradicting facts (preferably in charts and graphs)
- A comprehensive and CURATED compilation of related coverage and conversation in other places,
- Biases of the reporter and contributing sources
- Biases of the subjects of the story (particularly if politicians are involved)
There's probably more to add to this list, but that's a good start.
Basically I'd like to turn Atoms back into multi-celled organisms at the point of consumption.
I suspect it would take a crowdsourced annotation model to achieve this level of detail for every story or storyline. Essentially a Wikipedia for breaking/major news. This would turn news into a Collaborative Work.
Do you have great examples of this happening somewhere? The closest I can think of is Circa (as mentioned they are doing point 1 in my list) and Genius.com.
Interested in working on it? I'd be interested in helping out.