Innovation

Gaming the News

Great Civic Journalism, Great Ideas, Great Interactive Storytelling, Great Work Gallery, Innovation
A great city development game designed by KQED, San Francisco's public television station, complements a Bay Area gentrification program and gives users five different decisions to make about how to develop their city. At the end of the game, it explains the impact of each choice and it scores players on how well planned their cities are. The Pew Center for Civic Journalism discusses how online sites are using games and reports that the Seattle firm that built HeraldNet's Waterfront Renaissance project, Smashing Ideas Inc., is designing another city planning gaming that will soon debut on the Myrtle Beach Sun News' site. "[Games] are a great way to get information to people in a way that helps them understand the impact of their choices," Smashing Ideas' founder Glenn Thomas said.

Free MP3s

Business Bytes, Great Ideas
Newspaper sites are increasingly offering free MP3 downloads of local bands -- it's legal, a great service to readers and great free publicity for the groups. Among the sites offering this service are Washingtonpost.com, Boston.com, Projo.com, OnlineAthens.com, CapeCodOnline.com and The Topeka Capital-Journal's RockKansas.com.

Tribune Interactive implements publishing platform

Innovation
Tribune Interactive rolls out a new "proprietary standards-based content management and publishing platform that speeds delivery of breaking news to users across Tribune's national network of news and information Web sites." The platform, known internally as Oxygen, delivers content to Tribune Interactive's 11 daily newspaper Web sites (including chicagotribune.com, latimes.com and newsday.com), automates content sharing among all the sites, and creates standard advertising placements for national advertisers throughout the network.

Online News Summary Tool

Innovation
Columbia University's Computer Science Department has developed an experimental tool called the Columbia Newsblaster that automatically tracks news events. Using "natural-language processing" technology, it summarizes reports from twelve news sources daily, including Reuters, ABCNews.com, CBSNews.com, CNN.com, FOXNews.com, WashingtonPost.com and USATODAY.com -- and conveniently offers links to each site's stories. Yahoo's Full Coverage still seems more useful, but it's an intriguing concept and it will be interesting to see how the project develops. Check it out. Is this the future of online news?