Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Future of News?

Newsmakers are increasingly going online, which started with selected articles from their printed publications, sometimes abbreviated versions to give an overview and offering full articles for an additional fee. In most cases, it is possible to leave comments, and sometimes, text is enriched with (inline) video contributions, which are sometimes excerpts from TV programs related to a given topic. In order to inform their clients, daily newsletters are being compiled and sent to interested users. Many newsmakers also participate in social networks in order to make their "brand" more visible so it is possible to become a "fan", whatever this means. Another useful channel to inform users about new issues is microblogging, where headlines are posted to e. g. Twitter with a link to a related article.

All in all (besides being able to comment), news is still a one-way business where contributions (text, audio, video) are being published, sometimes aggregated by topic. It is neither personalized, nor is there a link between paper and online news.

Enter 2D barcodes as a potential link between articles or ads and related resources. With regards to ads, Google has been experimenting with barcode-enhanced ads that lead to a result page aggregating results related to the product or resource being advertised, including e. g. some additional information on the related company. With barcode-enhanced printed articles, URLs to multimedia resources can be coded, along with other static information. Given a thin client on a mobile device, which is capable of gathering context information (e. g. time, location, weather) and able to access personal information (e. g. a user profile), the prerequisites are there to create a genuinely customized media consumption experience.

Still a question remains unanswered: how to interact with news beyond retrieval and comments? I would welcome any thoughts and ideas on this issue. I am almost certain that others have reflected on this issue before I did, so any pointers are also welcome.

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