In the Loop

In the Loop: March 31, 2009 Archive

Come get your news points everybody!

Posted at 1:29 PM on March 31, 2009 by Sanden Totten (9 Comments)

Let's start with a big scary statistic:

"According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, the proportion of young people getting no news on a typical day has increased from 25 to 34 percent since 1998" (emphasis is mine).

Okay, now let's talk about a solution. The Minnesota Daily has teamed up with U of M researchers and the Seattle-based NewsCloud website to figure out how to get these newsless young 'uns to become NY Times and BBC junkies like the rest of us.

Since were talking about 18 to 20 somethings . . . the plan obviously involves Facebook. What else could young people possibly care about? Believe me, if they could find a way to work in Judd Apatow, Twilight and text messaging, I'm sure they would have.

Daily Facebook App.jpg

What you are looking at is actually a giant Facebook book application (find it here). It allows users to read articles, comment and even post their own news stories. How do they get them to do it?

Prizes!!!

The more you comment, the more you share, the more points you get. Just like with the Kool-aid points or Camel bucks of yore, these points can be turned in for sweet swag. That MN Daily mouse pad is as good as mine! And the hope is that one day, even advertisers can get in on this action:

"Media groups with such applications could work with business to post challenges to the users that they would gain points for, such as visiting a business' Website or attending a restaurant's happy hour, resulting in direct business to the advertisers."

This idea has a lot going for it. First off, as we've found with our page, Facebook is a great way to integrate your content into people's everyday lives. It's also a really slick looking app. I say "looking" because it doesn't actually work yet. Click an article and you get blank space. Try posting something and you get automatically logged in as "Jesse Heitke." But if it works like it looks like it should, this could be a powerful page.

But is rewarding folks for getting involved with the news setting a good example? Could this lead to sites with the best prizes getting the most page views? And something seems fishy about media organizations giving you stuff for checking out their sponsors.

Speaking with Rex Sorgatz yesterday about media trends on the web, he said it's not that on-line audiences are dumber or less inclined to get deep and informative news than old media consumers. They just need to have it offered up in a way that fits their pattern of consumption. I'm guessing the same goes for young people. And as soon as I get my MN Daily account back from this mysterious Jesse Heitke, I'll dig a little deeper into the page and see if it's a step in that direction.

Comment on this post

Remembering "Big Fat Truck"

Posted at 5:44 PM on March 31, 2009 by Jeff Horwich

With all the hoo-hah this week over the auto industry, it seems the right time to dust off this little bit of ITL satire from waaaaaaaay back last summer. Don't see these struttin' commercials much any more, do we?

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