By now, there’s no need to repeat the backstory of Breaking News Online to the news junkies among us, especially those of us on Twitter and iPhone. If you do need the background, here’s the story. I was never a follower on Twitter, but I have been using its iPhone app ever since it launched in July. And with the new 1.1 version of the app, it has become even better with customization.
The kid from Netherlands is hands down eating everyone’s lunch when it comes to pushing out breaking news first, bar none. He and his team’s news judgment on what’s-really-important is impeccable. The nascent service has a lot more Twitter subscribers than almost all big news media companies, except maybe CNN and NYTimes. And now it is generating revenues through the paid iPhone app, and among the first to launch a subscription service on top of the paid app. It has also started syndicating its wire stories to some online pubs. List of its services is here.
Beyond its micro-news service, which essentially is about staying on top of worldwide news reports from other sources — and no small feat, it does that better than anyone — it has also started doing some original reports as well, most recently around the tsunami warnings in New Zealand, if I am remembering it right (it doesn’t archive the stories). And I feel I am a lot more informed about international developments than by reading or getting any other online/U.S. source. Sure, it is not groundbreaking original reporting like the NYT or BBC, and it is aggregating third parties, and it gets it wrong sometimes in the quest for speed, but that’s not the point of the service. The currency here is speed in a multiplatform environment, followed by news judgment. This is the web native news creature we all have been waiting for.
So Jon Miller, if you haven’t considered this already as part of your news consortium idea, here’s what you should do: e-mail the kid, or call him, catch the next flight to the Netherlands, and give him a buyout offer. It will be a lot better way to spend $5 million than the $5 million your company has spent hiring all these new hotshot execs for MySpace…