Newser, a start up with an impressive team behind it. Newser is run by Highbeam CEO Patrick Spain, Vanity Fair columnist Michael Wolff, and Caroline Miller, who was the editor in chief of New York Magazine. According paidContent.org, the site was "born with the idea of trying to reinvent the network TV news paradigm for the Web," meaning to keep news items short, snappy, and entertaining.The web has a new news aggregation site today with the launch of
Early reviews of the site have not been so favorable. Gawker especially was unimpressed, calling Newser "the dullest thing I've seen all day." But I'm not sure it's that dull.
Newser uses a combination of human and algorithmic aggregation to determine the top stories, relying on their list of top 100 sources (which could presumably change over time -- for example, mlb.com ranks #32 right now, but when baseball season is over, I'd expect to see the Newser editors rely on it less). It's unclear what sort of machine aggregation Newser is using, but human editors ultimately decide what news makes it to the site.
Newser editors summarize news stories and publish the summaries to the site along with images from a variety of sources (including Flickr, Wikipedia, and the Associated Press), and sometimes with videos from YouTube and excerpted background content from non-news sources (see this topic page for the Chicago Cubs, for example). News stories on the site are accompanied by related articles picked by the editors, from the AP (presumably matched contextually), and via the Highbeam newswire, which draws on a number of sources.
The site's design is attractive, with 9 top stories displayed by default on the main page in a way that isn't overwhelming, and the summarized news does make it easier to consume. Newser's goal of bringing the "network TV news paradigm" to the Internet looks to me to have been realized. News is presented visually in short snippets and becomes easy to scan. However, the success of Newser will rely on the ability of their editors to deliver content that interests readers. Newser hopes to offer news that is "free of bias," but when you add a human element you unavoidably add a bias as well, and the ultimate success or failure of the site might hinge on what that bias is.
I actually like Newser, but whether I would use it regularly will depend on whether the editors can do a good job of not only keeping on top of breaking and important stories, but also picking stories that interest me. The site plans to offer a way for users to filter news based their interests -- which should help with my last point. However, it is baffling to me that a site like this doesn't offer some sort of social interaction (like rating or comments).