Open News – Group 5

opennews

  1. Goal: Our goal is to convince the class that in 5 to 10 years, most news will be obtained from social media and strongly biased news websites, influenced heavily if not solely, by profit. Websites like reddit and Facebook which attempt to democratize news today only end up furthering the issue. The quality and credibility of news will be out of check. We are suggesting a better unbiased, crowd-sourced, news distribution system.
  2. Idea: Open-source, credible, high-quality news source.
  3. Problem:
    • Lower quality of current events news
      • Many educated people get news filtered by friends on Facebook or from anonymous sources on reddit.
        • You can buy ads & likes on social media
        • You can buy “upvotes” on reddit
      • Less educated people get news from highly-opinionated Local TV news, and biased national TV shows
      • Credibility of source doesn’t matter
      • Little-to-no fact checking
    • Incentives are page views, not engagement
      • Money comes from ads and sponsors
      • Leads to clickbait
      • Opinionated articles are shared more often on social media
        • Individuals want to share articles that align with their opinion
    • Only paid subscriptions (e.g. NYT, WSJ) do not have to cater to ads
      • This bars low-income individuals from unbiased news
      • Even for those who can afford it, why pay for news when you can get it free?
    • You do not see opposing viewpoints
      • Can tune to Fox for conservative, MSNBC for liberal
      • Only subscribe to certain “subreddits”
      • Pick Facebook friends and click articles of similar viewpoints
  4. Audience
    • Initially rational, educated people with access to the Internet will want to use our product. Our hope is that we can then appeal to poorer, less-educated users through the free access and clear, easy-to-read news.
    • Those with special interests to control the news will not like this.
      • Corporations
      • Politicians
      • Interest groups
    • Those who don’t care about accurate news or are just seeking for entertainment or drama in their news may not care about this.
  5. Approach: Our general idea is to have an open-sourced, user submitted, expert checked, unbiased news-paper. Some of our feature ideas are:
    • Highlights at the top of articles and easy-to-read.
    • Have a cross-sectional view of different expert viewpoints, similar to IGM Chicago.
    • Credibility ratings. If a statement is contentious or unproven, it can be highlighted or denoted.
    • Subcategories
      • “Here is the story on Trump desiring to build a wall”
      • “Here is what our professional economists think. Here is a breakdown on their conservative/liberal bias over time.”
      • “Here is what experts in international relations think. Here is a breakdown of their conservative/liberal bias over time”
    • Categories / Tags
    • Social shareability
  6. Challenges & Unknowns:
    • How do you convince people to use it when there are more entertaining and satisfying sources available?
      • This is supposed to be a rebellion, it’s not going to be an initially favorable idea
    • Most news sources garner revenue from sponsorships, page views, or subscriptions. Without either, how do we financially support this news source
      • How do we handle the bandwidth of incoming articles?
      • Perhaps we follow the StackOverflow model, requiring a number of credibility points before an article can be posted.
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