Uh, oh, the sky is falling.
This month, AbridgeME.com launched as the first user-generated summation tool for news articles. Weird timing, right? At a moment when everyone is dedicated to providing stacks of digital flashcards and explainers for the news, founder Eric Rems wants to cut to the chase.
His reasoning? Everyone explains and comments — just look at your Twitter feed right now and count the links to opinions on the news — and he wants to provide readers with fact based summaries of the news. This way, you can start to delve into the topic with the facts and only the facts. Then you can create your reading adventure across the web and decide for yourself as you dig in rather than start with the editorial and have them choose sides for you.
That’s an interesting and loaded idea. We know readers are “news snackers,” so summaries work. As does the explainer model, like Vox.com. But over at Vox there’s some original reporting, interviewing, and researching going on. It’s strange to encourage people to read and produce summaries of other peoples’ work. Or is it just a realistic and somehow cynical take on journalism and how people consume it?
At the end of each summary, there’s an option to write your own version if you think the standing summary isn’t on point. Remember to keep your versions 100 words or less. This right here is just hitting the 250 mark, so good luck with ISIS.
What do you think about 100 word summaries of the news as a business model? Let us know @10,000Words or in the comments below.
- Apply for the Matter International Reporting Fellowship
- Uncertain Future for NY Times Reporter Protecting Confidential Source
- Grading the Media on Ferguson Coverage
- Journalism Under Attack