Update: Actually, Pete was pointing to a post by Rich Skrenta of Topix who quips, “it looks like the social software space of a few years back.” But still, most think I am off base. So I will repeat. Remix as much as you want, just […]

Update: Actually, Pete was pointing to a post by Rich Skrenta of Topix who quips, “it looks like the social software space of a few years back.” But still, most think I am off base. So I will repeat. Remix as much as you want, just use a different label, not News 2.0.

Pete Cashmore writes a thoughtful Web 2.0 blog called Mashable. Its a delicious delight for some groovy analysis. I don’t agree with him. Like today he puts up a list of sites that are generically labeled News 2.0. On the list are usual suspects – Digg, Findory, Reddit, Google News and more. The definition of news is quite different for what the basic nature of sites listed in the Mashable post. (Dictionary, Webster, and Wikipedia)

Most don’t really create anything (notable exceptions Newsvine and Backfence) but instead are simply repackaging news that other people create. Without the efforts of News 1.0 and Bloggers, News 2.0 doesn’t mean anything. Its not News 2.0, but instead Repackaging News 2.0. We need to find a new descriptor. I do agree with Cashmore: they all look increasingly similar, which doesn’t behold good tidings for the future.

By Om Malik

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  1. Thanks Om. :P

    Pete: “And as each service tries to tick all the boxes”. Me: nope.

  2. Om,

    Well I’m not crazy about the moniker “News 2.0″ either, and I partly agree with your analysis that News 2.0 is nothing more than repackaging the news. But that’s exactly what the news is about these days: if you’re using an RSS reader, you’re already repackaging your news. In a world where information is no longer scarce (and attention is the scarcest resource in the value chain), the repackaging is an important step. Yes, the content is created by bloggers and journalists, but the distribution mechanism has changed dramatically since the days of printed newspapers. So I guess if there is a “News 2.0″, it describes the whole ecosystem – from the bloggers/journalists to the attention allocators (Memeorandum, Digg) and your RSS reader.

  3. Simply repackaging news that other people create? Really? And do search engines simply repackage content that other websites create?

    I cannot speak for the other news sites, but I think Findory does a lot more than repackage news.

    Findory’s news recommendations help people discover news they wouldn’t have found on their own. Findory’s personalization technology matches content to interested audiences.

    Getting found is the goal of all content. That’s why search engines exist. That’s why Findory exists.

  4. greg,

    i agree. finding content and making it available to others is a good and profitable business as folks at Google have shown as . I think whether it is your company (findory) or what Gabe is doing or what Tail Rank is doing, there as part of a “recommendation service” and it is incorrect to call them news.

    I have often referred to as gabe’s effort as “instant recommendations” where as your service is “my recommendations”

    calling them News 2.0 is incorrect.

  5. pete,

    all things considered, i am frankly getting sick and tired of the rss reader as an excuse. rss reader is a replacement for the browser, but doesn’t necessarily mean that the content creation process is any different. sure me or tech crunch or whomever doesn’t have the legacy costs involved but still we do the same traditional thing.

    having said that, my problem is not with what these services are doing, but instead the lablel. “recommend 2.0″ might be much better description.

  6. Om, by your reasoning (and I’m not being rhetorical), then I guess simplyhired and indeed aren’t Job Search 2.0, but simply Job Recommendation 2.O?

  7. yup, pretty much. they are scrapping and repackaging.

  8. Yep, I agree with you here, Om, because all we’re talking about is the definition of a made-up term: News 2.0. We’ve been very careful never to call ourselves News 2.0 or Web 2.0 or anything 2.0 given the fact that once bandwagons like that start, all sorts of me-toos tend to jump on and weigh the bus down. “Hey, my site can fetch data from a server without refreshing the page! I deserve some funding!”

    I think what you’re saying here, Om, is that “News 2.0″ should refer to new ways of reporting the news as opposed to new ways of consuming the news. New ways of consuming the news are, by definition, new ways of “repackaging the news”, as you say. Whether it be RSS aggregators or anything else, yes, it’s just repackaging.

    With regards to Newsvine (thanks for the mention), a lot of our goal is definitely in the presentation, aggregation, and repackaging of original and syndicated content, but your producer-side definition fits us as well. Pretty soon, you’ll be able to post an article from a baseball game using nothing but your Treo. Or upload audio you recorded from the subway before you’ve even exited the subway. Or post a live poll asking users to react to a story you just published. These sorts of things change the way news is reported and not just consumed, and that’s what makes it all the more interesting.

  9. Ironically, much of what makes up News 1.0 — many newspapers and a lot of TV stations — is simply repackaged news as well, it just happens to come from news wires like Associated Press and Reuters instead of from blogs. And a lot of what aggregators and recommenders are doing now is repackaging that and any related commentary before the News 1.0 gang even knows it’s out there. I think that alone makes many of them News 2.0.

  10. In a world where information is no longer scarce (and attention is the scarcest resource in the value chain), the repackaging is an important step.” Not to pick on Pete Cashmore here but this statement, which seems to have become an aphorism among netizens these days, is it really true? I am not sure. Is information really no longer scarce? What do we really know, for example, about the rural unrest in China, about the farmer suicides in India, or for that matter, the alarming decrease in education standards, right here in U.S.? We don’t know much information, but we have heard a lot about these happenings, in a vague sort of way. We think we know, but we don’t. Too often we read such “repackaged information,” which is really the old information packaged with new opinion, and we delude ourselves into thinking we know more. I would modify the above statement to read: “We are living in a world where vague familiarity is no longer scarce (and informed opinion is the scarcest resource in the value chain).“>/p>

    Here is an interest set of quotes from “Mirror of War: The Washington Star reports the Civil War,” (Compiled by John W. Stepp and I. William Hill) a book I recommend highly.

    “To the earliest American editors, news was whatever information of interest came to them, however old, however inaccurate. Even by 1800, no effort had been made to go out and gather news. Newspapes were often crammed with sentimental verse, pompous essays, religious dissertations and bombastic political propaganda.”

    “In appearance, The Star of Civil War days still clung to British and colonial traditions. Two-thirds of its first page consisted of advertisements, many in number and small in size. Page One spaceleft by the ads often presented sentimental fiction, verse, do-it-yourself articles, and such humor as Artemus Ward yarns. Editorials appeared on Page Two, though editorials and news stories were sometimes difficult to distinguish.”

    “What the present day editor calls a “new lead” was apparently unheard of one hundred years ago (146 years ago, by 2006). “New leads” meant the resetting of type. As a consequence, if a big story were breaking, the story in the old Star began with the first news to come in. Later news was hung on the end of that, and so on. The result is a chronological collection of developments where, in some cases, a report down the column will refult news published higher up.”

    “In May, 1848, six New York newspapers, hungry for fresher news, pooled their resources to form the Associated Press, the progenitor, but a vastly different type of organization from the modern wire service of the same name. [...] As the Associated Press grew, it designated “agents” in American cities to provide news by wire. These “agents” were more distinguished by their facility in operating a telegraph than by their ability at reporting.”

    Ring a bell how similar it reads to our current day blogging phenomemon?



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