As more and more of us choose to forgo darkening our fingers with newspaper pages and turn to opening web pages instead, we ask ourselves - are the days of sitting at the breakfast table with some toast and the Morning Herald soon to be a distant memory? It sure seems that way, as online news becomes more popular as more of us choose to access the latest news stories and updates via the Internet. As the world of online steadily integrates itself into our everyday lives, leaving many of ‘tech savvy' Generation Y wondering what ever did we do without it, it seems inevitable that staying in touch with the global community and knowing what is happening will become online activities too.
Things are a'changing
A recent study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project showed that the Internet is now the most popular medium to obtain news from, over print newspapers and radio. Only TV news stations are more popular than the Internet, but with social television on the rise, these could soon be accessed online too, bringing the Internet to the number one position. Another recent study found that the average age of Internet users is 28 years old, and this was an age that was progressively turning to news online more than the old favourite of newspapers.
Living with Living Stories
And as we change our ways and turn to the Internet for our news sources, of course the Internet's news sources are changing right along with us. Living Stories is an experiment run by Google (teamed with The New York Times and The Washington Post) that looks to change the way we view and interact with news online. At the moment, we presumably view a news story, and then when an update is published, the story is published again with the changes - on a different web page with a different link and URL. The basic idea of a living story is to combine all of the news coverage on a running story on a single page. What Living Stories aims to do is have a sort of ‘running commentary' on the news, where one web page is dedicated to that single news story, and any changes are then added to that page ‘on the go' - in other words, the page is updated regularly with new developments, and remains at the same URL as the original breaking story. This of course allows readers to keep an eye on those stories that interest them, and get updates.
Better news faster
You can see why this would appeal - people could save those URL addresses in their favourites, and refer to it from time to time to see any updates or changes to that breaking news. This would definitely help in getting those big news stories, such as the recent earthquake in Chile, to the masses a lot more easily and a lot more efficiently. The experiment ran from December 2009 until February 2010, and was deemed a success by Google, with 75% of participants preferring the Living Stories online news formats than more traditional. At the moment, it is assumed that Google are working on creating the ‘full' version of this to launch sometime in the near future.
The set out of a Living Stories news page is simple and easy to use - something we like when wanting to know the latest news headlines. A page has a headline and the article, but also a timeline where you can see the updates as they happen, as well as everything else related to that story - videos, quick updates, important quotes and more. You won't need to leave the page to get more information or newer, updated coverage. It's a presentation of news specifically designed for the online space and online thinking, rather than what occurs now where harried news reporters whip up their article onto the Net where it is viewed for a few hours before more recent news overpowers it. And it's just one more thing that Internet is making that little bit easier ...