Friday, March 09, 2007

Myspace News, USA Today, and old media questions

On Techmeme today I caught up to Terry Heaton's interesting report on Myspace News, which will be launching Q2. (

Heaton provides the following rationale:
  • MySpace News takes News to a whole new level by dynamically aggregating real-time news and blogs from top sites around the Web
  • Creates focused, topical news pages that users can interact and engage with throughout their day
  • MySpace is making the news social, allowing users to:
    Rate and comment on every news item that comes through the system
    Submit stories they think are cool and even author pieces from their MySpace blog
  • MySpace users previously had to leave the site to find comprehensive news, gossip, sporting news, etc. With MySpace News, we bring the news to them!

The article hints at how adding the social networking elements of Myspace to the news experience will maintain the goals of the publisher running the show - keep the user on the site, engaged with the content, selling advertising to monetize it.

At issue for Heaton is what sorts of news items will appeal to the Myspace community. Will it be mainstream news sources or Onion-esque reports for the buff, hot, cool crowd that hangs out on myspace? Will newsblogs be included? Who will be left out? How much will some have to pay to get in?

And adding social networks to real news sites - is that just a brand extension tactic? Can it be anything else? News companies, and really any content publisher for that matter, should be looking at distributing their content into any platform they can, rather than focusing resources on creating platforms for their own distribution. It's a scale thing. Corollary: Monetizing every bit of content can be hard, but every morning I read a recycled paper here at the office and no one minds. I subscribe to the local paper at home that I read only two or three pages of per day.

Did I just out myself on failure to keep up on local news?

Is any of this worth it to the consumer? Will it really be "news" or just entertainment? Is "news" just entertainment after all? Does it really require substance