I have been invited to try the public beta of Newsvine, a news aggregation/citizen journalism hybrid.
Newsvine features the full text of articles from AP, Reuters and other wires as well as links to stories on other news sites. The stories are ranked by the number of votes they get from fellow users. In addition, you can tag stories which are then aggregated onto distinct pages.
The most notable feature of Newsvine, however, is the ability to contribute and aggregate your own news articles at your own personal URL (e.g. steverubel.newsvine.com) and then monetize it. All contributed articles are clearly delineated from the rest of the content. Contributors collect 90% of the ad revenue generated through traffic to their personal domain. The other 10% goes to the person who referred you to join the site.
Newsvine should draw immediate comparisons to Topix.net, which is taking a similar approach. Topix goes beyond Newsvine in that they index blogs while opening pages up to contributors and comments. They also feature many many more categories and sources. (Disclaimer: I am an advisor to Topix.net and they are a client of CooperKatz.)
I like Newsvine, but I think it’s going to run into some trouble. One appeal of these sites is in how they aggregate news. Most consumers will want see the news in some sort of hierarchy of import, rather than by popularity. This is how Topix ranks its articles. For all of the value the community provides, it can also leave us blind to some important stories that may not be too popular. Still, Newsvine is certainly a site to watch.
Steve Rubel is a PR strategist with nearly 16 years of public relations, marketing, journalism and communications experience. He currently serves as a Senior Vice President with Edelman, the largest independent global PR firm.
He authors the Micro Persuasion weblog, which tracks how blogs and participatory journalism are changing the public relations practice.