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Better News

The Vision: It seems there is a significant opportunity to provide a simple service of superior current events information. Better News would be a software product to provide this service. It could take advantage of the ubiquity of Internet connected mobile devices to provide achieve this. It would aim to provide news that is without political bias, accurate, clean, and very up to date. Better News could do this through crowd-sourcing content, feedback based quality control, and on the spot reports based on location verification.

Observation: When something happens these days there are often many people right there at that time with Internet connected mobile devices. Yet there are many who feel it has gotten all but impossible to find a source of information on current events that is of reasonable quality:
  • Political Bias: One political faction often claims that certain media sources are saturated with bias toward the other political faction. Some people decry alleged rampant political bias in the so called mainstream media. Some of the less mainstream media is overtly politically biased or has even more issues with inaccuracy and unwanted content
  • Inaccuracy: There are recent high profile disputes about whether major news institutions are fake news. Now there is a proliferation of fact check articles and sites
  • Unwanted Content: Many news sources are saturated with annoying advertisements and other irrelevant content, much of which may also be considered inappropriate, indecent, or offensive
  • Paywalls: Yes some news sources still have these, sometimes including "ad-blocker blockers"
  • Developing Stories: It seems like there's often some type of disaster or other major event which would be nice to follow but the traditional sources seem relatively very slow to cover and often report conflicting and inaccurate information. This has even led many to turn to alternative sources such as social media
  • Lack of Quality Mobile App: It seems most news apps have a different app for each source, each of which has issues inherent to that source. And, those apps which do aggregate multiple sources simply link to the stories at those sources and do not include quality features for things like alerts or downloading stories to read offline
Better News could have a web site at a domain name, with a public front page, public article pages, and member controls. The layout would be very clean and simple. The front page could show previews of the top articles. The articles would contain original content, not mere links to articles on other sites or copies of information from other sources. Better News could also have a mobile app, which could download the news when the device was online and keep the downloaded news ready to read offline.

Each member could have one or more roles of critic, eyewitness, reporter, journalist, or editor. Critics could leave feedback on articles. Reporters could interview eyewitnesses (also through the software) and prepare reports. The app could use location features to verify that eyewitnesses were at the place and time of the event. Journalists could write articles from reports, and editors could touch up and arrange stories. The software could facilitate accomplishing all of this collaboration.

Feedback: There could be the following five categories for feedback:

  • Accuracy
  • Objectivity
  • Appropriateness
  • Timeliness
  • Detail 

Feedback left on articles would reflect on the members who put together the article, and vice versa. Articles from members with higher feedback would be featured more prominently. Articles would not be displayed if the feedback was below a certain threshold, until it improved.

Appropriateness: Different news consumers have various standards of what is appropriate. However, Better News could hold very high standards with a zero tolerance for inappropriate material. A simple way to handle various standards is that Better News simply does not need to include everything. If certain articles or content are questionable Better News could simply skip them and leave those for other media organizations to cover.

Timeliness: Better News would aim to feature very rapid updates on "developing stories," especially major events.

Earning Income: Perhaps at first the product could earn income through text-only ads syndicated from a third party service. Perhaps later the product could "cut out the middle man" and run its own ads.

Perhaps contributors could be paid for their contributions, either through traditional money or digital currency. Perhaps they could receive a portion of the ad revenue from their own articles.

Future Expansion:  Perhaps Better News could start out using one or a few a specific topics of news (such as computer security news), or local news in a certain location, and possibly expand as it was successful with that. Perhaps articles could start out as plain text, then a role could be added of Photographer and photos could be included. Photographs, like the text, would need to remain very appropriate.

Also, to help build and arrange articles, perhaps future versions of Better News could incorporate some form of "artificial intelligence."

Verified Author: Serafino Software™
Maturity Idea 
Type: Software Product, Other Service
Date Claimed: 12 September 2017

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