At this point, no one is surprised to hear that the world of news consumption is in a state of turmoil. The excess of information may, in fact, be the defining issue of our time. All eyes are on the New York Times, whose transition to digital is finally paying off. Most news organizations will attempt to follow suit, but few will be able to do so, since none can match the size, scope, and credibility that that NYT brings to the table.
That doesn’t stop anyone from throwing their hat into the ring, though. Digg relaunched today as a front page for the internet, and countless other entities, from the well-established to the unknown, have given us their own spin on news. At best, though, these attempts are educated guesses. What the future holds, of course, no one knows.
One concept that has emerged from the chaos is that of a noise filter. With an excess of information, the idea goes, those who distill the day’s news into palatable bits of easily digestible information will win the hearts of its users. Three web entities have used this concept as the backbone of their offerings, and the result is a menu of news apps that are a pleasure to browse.
Topheadlin.es is a Wall Street Journal offering optimized for mobile viewing. It presents a very spartan layout of the most prominent headlines from a variety of sources. The sources are preselected, but you can change the sources and their order in the ‘settings’ tab. Personalizing the headlines doesn’t require an account, so presumably the site saves some cookies to your browser to remember your settings, meaning that while no sign-up is required, you may have to re-enter settings if you clear your browser’s cookies.
Reddit may be the most populated internet property in terms of the sheer amount of news that exists on the site. It’s a go-to resource for many, especially since the death of Digg, and has established itself as a reliable and enjoyable medium. Reddit Edit simply presents the top three stories from the World News, Politics, and Technology subreddits in a simple one-page view. Clicking on the arrow will give the same view to the Reddit Front Page, _Science, and Pics.
Evening Edition may be the most exciting entry of the three. Topheadliln.es and Reddit Edit, capable as they are, as simply aggregations of stories from elsewhere on the web. Evening Edition is a true distillation of the day’s news, written by an actual journalist in a clear, concise format. Stories are linked to, but the general idea is that you don’t need to read any further to get a handle on what’s going on in the world today. It’s all presented in original writing wrapped in a beautiful design, and delivered every weekday at 5PM Pacific Time- perfect for your commute home, or as a quick run-down as you begin winding down your day.
The Atlantic recently gave us their take on these sites and their implications, saying:
But the real difference between these, of course, is that some rely on editorial talent while others rely on communal editing prowess. All our news should never be democratic, but retaining that voted edge as we recede into news-summary is historically novel and journalistically welcome.
It’s been said over and over: no one knows what the future of news consumption holds, but if the trend these three properties exemplify is its centerpiece, it’s a very bright future indeed.