Social News: USA Today Revamps Website, MySpace News is Coming

From Terry Heaton’s PoMo Blog:

MySpace is getting into the news business with launch due in early 2nd quarter, according to inside sources and the company’s own sales materials.

  • MySpace News takes News to a whole new level by dynamically aggregating real-time news and blogs from top sites around the Web
  • Creates focused, topical news pages that users can interact and engage with throughout their day
  • MySpace is making the news social, allowing users to:
    Rate and comment on every news item that comes through the system
    Submit stories they think are cool and even author pieces from their MySpace blog
  • MySpace users previously had to leave the site to find comprehensive news, gossip, sporting news, etc. With MySpace News, we bring the news to them!

Now it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that this is not good news for those of us in the news business, unless we view it as another way to get our content onto yet another platform. MySpace is currently cutting deals with content providers to do just that, and I think it’s likely the process will show us what types of “news” will be of interest to young people, circa 2007. And that is something we might be able to use downstream. That said, this is another example of an internet pureplay company taking on the role of media company and using their core audience as the distribution vehicle.

Update: Wired News has screenshots and a powerpoint presentation.

What it means: MySpace is launching the equivalent of Google News (news & blog aggregator) with a social element a la Digg.com (news rating & reviews). Which means they are completely dependent on content producers, which means, as Terry Heaton says, it’s another distribution venue for news providers. The big challenge will be: can this new news outlet drive traffic back to content producers? By the way, there’s nothing to prevent traditional news sources to execute the same strategy especially if they have a solid brand. The best example is the launch of the new USAToday.com this week. In this letter to their readers (found on GigaOm), the editors discuss their new features. They include scanning other news sources directly on USATODAY.com, seeing how readers are reacting to stories. recommending stories and comments to other readers, writing reviews, etc. This is a very positive move by USA Today!

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