Teaching Examples


Do we need Newsvine?
March 25, 2006, 12:59 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

A new news site came out of beta about a month ago. It’s called Newsvine, and it’s the product of a good old-fashioned startup company (the kind we used to see by the dozens during the dot-com boom days) based in Seattle.

The premise is that a mix of rapidly posted wire stories and user-created news and opinion content can evolve into a useful information environment (or even an ecology) by way of integrated social networking tools, such as comments, tags and even live chat. Newsvine brings together ideas long in use at sites such as Slashdot, Kuro5hin, MetaFilter and (more recently) Digg. Registered users can vote for a story, which raises its ranking in lists on the site.

So far, activity on the site appears to be underwhelming. In the “Tech” section today, for example, the top story (Apple Computer Set to Mark 30th Birthday) has only 42 votes. That’s a pretty ho-hum story. What’s more, it’s the second top-rated story on Page One (“Top News”). Well, it IS Saturday morning …

What differentiates Newsvine from some other “vote for what’s interesting” sites is its MySpace-like sections for each user. After you register (free), you can set up your own “column” (um, that would be a blog) from which you will one day be paid a 90 percent cut of advertising revenues. You get some other tools too, like a watchlist (based on tags) and clippings. You can “seed” stories to Newsvine from elsewhere on the Web, and apparently you could use the tools to replace del.icio.us (see MY del.icio.us) — which I’m very fond of.

In fact, I’m already so accustomed to “rolling my own” by way of Digg, del.icio.us and a few favorite news sites (see the top items under “Sites I Like to Visit” on this blog’s home page), I can’t really see myself investing the time needed to configure Newsvine for my own use. Yet it is a brand-new site, and its value may increase over time. (You know what Metcalf’s Law says.)

I’ve tried to think of a way it might be useful in teaching — maybe instead of having journalism students set up a standalone blog, they could use a “column” on Newsvine instead.

The Newsvine FAQ is helpful. Newsvine began a public beta in November 2005. Here are the diggs on the Newsvine launch (March 1). Here are items tagged “Newsvine” on del.icio.us.

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