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City University research shows rapid growth of personalised news services

May 12th, 2011 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Editors' pick, Online Journalism

Automatic personalised news services in UK and US are growing at three times the rate of reader customisation services, according to new report.

Research published by City University today, as carried out by senior lecturer in electronic publishing Neil Thurman, suggests that from 2007 to 2009, personalisation by readers only grew by 20 per cent.

In comparison passive personalisation, where news websites filter and recommend articles based on user browsing behaviour “is outstripping active user customisation by a factor of three” with 60 per cent growth. And since then, Thurman told Journalism.co.uk, a third study at the end of last year appears to show the trend continuing, with social media and mobile playing an increasing role in adding personalisation functionality.

The research was carried out through a series of interviews with senior editors of major news outlets in the UK and US, including Times Online and BBC News Interactive, as well as content analysis of the news sites of these organisations.

This included features such as widgets and SMS alerts, as well as homepage customisation and “contextual recommendations” where contextually-related links are automatically generated from individual stories to other content.

“Although some are saying that personalised news sites are ‘all the rage’, this research is a warning to new sites like Trove, that readers are reluctant to take on the role of editorial selection, and still enjoy serendipitous discovery,” Thurman said in a release today.

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Personalised news service Trove launched by Washington Post

Washington Post today launched its personalised news service Trove in public beta. According to a press release the site uses Facebook Connect to pull in user interests “as outlined by his or her Facebook profile to help jump start personalization”.

In the coming months, readers can expect to see more social media features and site capabilities with Facebook Connect.

An editorial team will also work to select Editors’ Picks and create subject-based channels that feature recommended sources. Users can also create their own channels based on personal interests that may not already exist on Trove.

Trove, which has been in private beta since February, is currently available on the desktop, Android and Blackberry, and the Post says it will be coming to iPhone and iPad “soon”.

The site enlisted the help of Next Media animators to help explain how Trove works:

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Google launches new ‘follow news’ feature in US

December 20th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Search

Google News has added a new feature which enables users to save news searches as a bookmark and also add to their Google News homepage.

The ‘follow news’ button is US-only at the moment and a spokesperson said Google does not have “a timeline” to bring the feature to the UK at this point.

Hatip: Search Engine Land

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Times and Sunday Times sites launching new dashboard feature

News International’s paywalled newspaper sites TheTimes.co.uk and SundayTimes.co.uk are launching a new feature which aims to enable readers to keep track of stories of interest.

The Dashboard tool will become available to readers on the site over the next few days, an announcement on TheTimes.co.uk says.

We hope this latest addition to our websites will help you to personalise your news and get straight to the stories that are important to you.

The tool will notify readers when their favourite sections publish new articles and when a previously read article is updated. It also provides them with a history of read articles which they can quickly link back to.

Commenting on the new feature, paidContent’s Robert Andrews said the tool shows how the service is taking advantage of its online platform.

You can’t do that in print. It’s also somewhat unique amongst news websites, even if it is essentially a friendlier version of RSS-type functionality.

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Mashable: Are social networks becoming personal news wires?

To celebrate its five-year anniversary, Mashable is producing a series of posts on developments in social media. The latest looks at the impact of social networking on news consumption and the idea that social networks have become personal news wires.

Following a discussion of online “friends” evolving into our news editors, writer Vadim Lavrusik rounds-up some interesting ideas about ways to measure source credibility in the future for greater transparency online.

Though news is increasingly social and user-generated, the persistent fear is one of credibility and a flaw in measuring a curator’s knowledge on or interest in a topic. This problem could be improved by enabling users to develop more targeted news feeds on personalized topics of interest, but also by identifying specific sources and curators of information as more or less credible than others.

One idea he discusses, put forward by Andy Carvin a senior strategist at NPR,  would be to measure “who is knowledgeable” about a topic being shared.

This could also include sifting sources based on whether they are eye-witness to an event or are experts on the topic, both of which add value in their own way, he said. Such a model could then help establish a credibility index among users as sources, helping consumers better decide what information is credible.

See the full post here…

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US news publisher tracks users’ online reading to offer personalised content

US-based ImpreMedia, the largest Hispanic print and online news publisher in America, has enlisted the help of behavioural tracking technology to better understand its online users.

The company will use DailyMe’s Newstogram platform to find out exactly what their users are reading online and then use the information to offer personalised news and “better understand their audience when comes to content, e-commerce and advertising”.

DailyMe said in a release that the technology allows online news publishers to “communicate with their readers on an individual level”.

See the full release here….

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