TV news of the future?
Monday, April 23, 2007 by Dave Winer.
Here's a mockup of how TV news may work in the future.
I was drinking coffee, watching the morning news when a story about Virginia Tech came on MSNBC. I really wanted to begin this week without more stories about how they're coping. I know this makes me an ogre, but after listening to On The Media yesterday, my cynicism is validated. And after watching 60 Minutes about life in Baghdad, the first report I've seen to actually go in to get the story, I was aware that people are dying in places outside Blacksburg (and truthfully, the dying is probably over in Blacksburg).
I had a flash, I want a checkbox that tells MSNBC that I don't want any more Virginia Tech stories.
Then came breaking news that Boris Yeltsin had died. In my ideal news system, the screen would refresh and a checkbox entitled Yeltsin would be added, checked by default. If, after hearing the first report, I didn't want to hear more, I could uncheck it. No doubt a biography is coming, and testimonials, and interviews with Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski. I am interested in this stuff, Yeltsin is history, but there may come a time when I'd prefer more news about Alberto Gonzales, and I definitely want to hear anything they have on the Internet or Macintosh, or the impeachment of President Bush.
And there are some longterm stories that I have an interest in, like Katrina, or topics that because of my past I want to stay tuned into, like NY Metro. I live in the Bay Area, so I want to be informed about news there, but mix it in with news of the world. As we head into baseball's post-season, I'll check Sports, but it's still early, and I'll look for the news of my teams on the net, myself.
I think this is another form of the River of News, the checkboxes represent subscriptions. I could see MSNBC including stories produced by CNN, and sharing revenue with them. The goal is to get the best news experience tailored to the interests of specific users. I don't want to interfere with people who want to see the Virginia Tech students go back to class, but I want to move on, and want my news provider to respect that. (And I still want the choice to see Cho's videos, I think that was the solution to the problems Howie Kurtz was concerned with on the Reliable Sources. Note that media navel-gazing is not checked in my customized view. This permits them to talk about themselves all they want, which is fine with me.)
I thought I would write this up, but why not go a step further and mockup a prototype page, because it might stimulate some thought and other ideas.
And if you have comments, please let me know.