Remix the news

The Washington Post as a remix page, encouraging developers to make creative use of the paper’s RSS feeds (not unlike some of what the BBC is doing). Perfect attitude. Great first step.

Next, they should put up their interviews and other raw material and let people remix that into better stories. And they should let the people create their own front page.

One step at a time and this is a good step.

  • I agree, it’s a great approach, although it’s not universal. Just like a great chef can make a fabulous meal using the common ingredients that you or I can get at the grocery store, a newspaper adds value for the reader by editorial judgment.

    (I have tried an approach like this with PunditDrome: Pick your own blogs for a custom blog page. We have about 30 people who actually use it.)

    Where the WaPo could blow away the competition: Offer the make-your-own-page feature. Add to that custom pages by editors with different viewpoints — Asian news, Business news, news for Conservatives, news for Liberals, etc.

    Even better: You, Mr. John Doe, can be an editor with the WaPo site! We will charge you $20/month for the privilege. We’ll give you your own Mr. John Doe WaPo page, which will be rebated for each new subscriber you bring in, with a $1/month trail for each subscriber.

    Wouldn’t that be cool! Matt Drudge would abandon his own site; he could make a more reliable income by promoting the WaPo so that people could visit his site.

  • I think the “tag cloud” approach is one of the best, and it does something similar to what Scott is suggesting — it lets you sort the news however you want, not how the editors wanted it. For example, you can see all the stories that relate to France, or the Middle East, regardless of what section they appeared in, instead of having to wade through a bunch of stuff you aren’t interested in looking for them.

    I think Scott’s idea is a good one too — let people publicize their remixes, just like people publicize their links and bookmarks. Then everyone can become a newspaper editor and publisher, and the “audience” decides which version they like better, or moves from one to the other. Just think of how much you could learn as a newspaper editor by watching how people remixed your news selection.