Newsvine: The Power of the Public Brain

Newsvine is a new way to look at the news, being developed for rollout early next year. The Seattle Post Intelligencer reports that the company will be offering a news site with feeds from the AP, ESPN and other sources and users will be able to rate the importance of individual stories, creating a reader generated editing system that boosts the most popular articles to front-page prominence.

“The Newsvine Web site, he said, will have a slick front page where readers view top stories of the day. Dozens of other niche pages will be set up, with users responsible for “seeding” those sites with interesting stories they find on the Web or their own stories.

“Depending on what your reputation is within the Newsvine community, your submissions can make it to the top of the page fairly quickly,” said Davidson, adding that those users will share in the advertising revenue generated by the stories.

Steve Outing, a senior editor at The Poynter Institute, said that unlike Google News, which relies on an algorithm to determine what stories get top play, Newsvine uses the “group intelligence” of readers. Outing dubbed this concept “citizen editing” and he said it holds much promise.

“I think among many people there’s some distrust of computers deciding what’s the most important news. … Some people are distrustful of professional editors making those decisions,” he said. “So if ‘the people’ are deciding what’s the top news and what are the best sources, that’s appealing to a segment of the news audience.”

While that is a concern, Davidson said there is real power in creating a news site that taps “the wisdom of crowds” and uses “the public as a giant brain.”