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Saturday, 31st October 2009

Quick and Efficient: Review the News from Multiple Sources with Newsy (Beta)

Here's an idea we haven't seen before. We were a skeptical at first but after a short time we can say we like what Newsy is up to. The current version of the service has been available since April, 2009 when it was relaunched. The Newsy iPhone app launched a couple of weeks ago.

The idea is as simple and and fresh. We've not seen anything similar available for free. Basically, take stories in the news and then bring together multiple video (and sometimes text-based) news reports from a number of sources and place them all on a single location. It's not only a great way to see how a news story is reported but viewing the same story from different news organizations can potentially turn up facts from one source that the other source does not report on. By the way, the company likes to think to think of themselves as "news analyzer" and not a news aggregator. We think both phrases can work together Whatever you call Newsy there is plenty of value here.

Newsy can be useful in many situations. One potential use is helping to teach critical information skills by reviewing what is and is not reported on in a news story and how it's reported. For example, how much time does each source give to the story.

But wait, there's more. In addition to aggregating news reports on the same story, Newsy produces their OWN original video content summarizing the material from each source into a single report. For those who don't want to view each source video one at a time, here's a way to learn what each one is reporting in just a minute or two.

You can keyword search Newsy (you're searching metadata) or browse by one of seven categories:

+ World
+ Economy
+ U.S.
+ Politics
+ Tech/Sci
+ Environment
+ Culture

You can also sort results by:

+ Most Popular
+ Most Recent
+ Most Commented
+ Highest Rated
+ Editor's Picks

Let's review how Newsy works:

1] Find a story, search or browse
We searched for "Obama" and got back 10 results.

2] Select the story; We chose "Obama Gives Donors Access to White House" from October 29, 2009 with a video summary that runs about three minutes.

3] After clicking the play we were taken to this page.

5] Immediately, Newsy's own video summary begins playing.

6] Above the video box (which can be embedded on any web page) notice the direct links to the various news sources used in the summary.

7] In this case the sources are:

+ Fox News
+ The Hill (Text-Based)
+ The Washington Times
+ The Washington Post

A good and well-balanced selection of sources. If you click on any of them, a new window opens and the "source" video (or text) begins playing. Text sources link directly to the article. No more going all over the web to find the content.

Quick Hits

+ Newsy does not offer its services for every news story. That's minor when you sit back and review what we think is real value in what they offer. Hopefully, they'll be able to cover more in the future.

+ An iPhone version of Newsy is also available. It's a free app. Here's a link to get Newsy iPhone (via the iTunes App Store).

+ If you register for the site you can comment on any story.

+ A text transcript of each Newsy original summary is available. You'll find it below the summary video box.

+ You can share reports using direct links to many social networks or e-mail a link to the selected story.

+ An RSS feed of stories is available as well as the Newsy blog.1

We hope that Newsy continues to offer a wide variety sources and a well-balanced set of sources for each story it covers. One thing we would love to see is a source list (we're guessing the Newsy uses more sources than listed on this page) and perhaps the expansion of this page about how news stories are selected. Another page about the news source selection process would be useful. Finally, we would be very happy if you could view stories by source. In other words, show me all of the stories that use video from MSNBC, BBC, CBS, etc.

You can learn more about the company this STLToday article. For example, they are based in Columbia, MO and have a staff (as of a few weeks ago) of 19.

Many Thanks to Charles Knight over at AltSearchEngines for letting us know about Newsy.
Yesterday, Charles ran a post about Newsy focusing on the success of their iPhone app.


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