Who stole the ‘new’ in news?


People are alleged to be increasingly turning away from print media to receive their news, relying on the internet. However, despite the facility for instant publication, the news is not as fresh as the medium promises even when you look at news wire websites. This is because the news wire businesses have primary customers who pay to receive the news first like your 40,000 USD Bloomberg terminal that sits on a traders desk. Timeliness of information is directly related to money for these people, its one of the levers that keeps the vast majority of day traders at an unfair disadvantage to the professionals.

In addtion, the way web users are going online to look for news is ensuring that the news they get is stale. The principle behind Google News is that Google takes an ‘average’ of the reported news; so it has a bias towards news that has already broken and widely distributed, over fast breaking stories. On the other hand traditional web portals have an advantage. I still have profiles and pages on Excite.com and Yahoo.com that have been set up since 1997/8 to give me the latest news based on my preferences.

There is no averaging effects, as soon as Reuters, AP or Bloomberg give the portal the relevant news it appears on My Yahoo! or My Excite page. The moral of this story is that not all progress is automatically better, Google News is a valuable tool so long as you are aware of its strengths and limitations. It is great for PR people to set up alerts when their clients have been covered, as a backup to their reading agency. For a news junkie, a well configured portal page offers a better barometer on the world.