Google News is popular because of the customization and sheer amount of information on one page.
Digg is popular because there’s interaction in that aggregation.
Blogs are popular because they give everyone a voice, when they feel they have something to say.
What all these have in common is that they were innovative, and gave users a reason to flock to each. Their niches were narrowly defined and the look was something new. We knew what we were getting.
It’s a noble effort to combine all of these into one service and think this can form a synergy in creating the perfect news reading experience. However, News Trust is not exactly that. It could be, but it has some very basic flaws.
Firstly, it suffers from a poor visual layout, as well as poor aesthetics in general. The title catchphrase “Your Guide to Good Journalism,” is confusing, frankly. Is this site a guide/educational resource like Poynters? It’s plainly evident that this is an aggregation site with stories to read as if it were a news site. Thus, their title makes little sense.
However, the fundamental flaw here is that they may be asking too much of users to submit stories and rate them in the manner they do. Maybe if the process was streamlined, it would be better. It seems simple enough as it is presented, however, it took many people a few minutes to figure out how exactly to get it working properly. At this point, I do not even know if the stories I have submitted even saved the review properly. Quite simply, they do not offer me much at face value that I can’t get on Google News or Twitter. For one thing, Google News has better customization tools, and the people I follow on Twitter are already people whose taste I trust.
I would like to end on a high note and say that News Trust has incredible value if it could garner an active community that really brought a diverse array of stories to the table and actually garnered discussion. Valuable, educational and lively discussion that challenges us all to think.
Sometime you just need to remember that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, especially when the wheels are working.
For those interested, take a look at three stories I submitted to News Trust and how I used their rating system. Go through yourself if you have the time and do the same. Drop me a line and let me know what your experience is.
[These submissions are all pending review, I apologize if you cannot see them right away]