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Digg's Newsrooms an attempt to separate good content from bad

September 20, 2011 |  8:33 pm

Digg Newsrooms

Digg, the social news reading website, is going through yet another overhaul and this time is taking a new approach, which it calls Newsrooms, to enable the best content to ascend atop its pages.

"The online world is flooded with information," Digg CEO Matt Williams said in a company blog post. "The volume of news published on a daily basis has grown exponentially. Many of us visit several different sites each day to get the most relevant or entertaining information on the topics we care about. There has never been a better time to separate the news from the noise."

Digg's Newsrooms will seek to create that separation by dividing news stories into different topics, each with their own Newsroom.

"When you visit a Newsroom you'll find the best news for a given topic as measured by popular opinion and ranked by top contributors on Digg," Williams said. "Topics as broad as technology or as specific as Lady Gaga. We've built a three-step algorithm to help the most meaningful stories rise to the top -– leveraging our greatest asset, the Digg community."

Williams said the three steps are sourcing, signals and curation. From Williams' blog post:

- Sourcing: We locate great content for each topic and display in a real-time feed called "Newswire."

- Signals: Stories are ranked automatically by an algorithm that looks at recency and popularity including Likes on Facebook, Tweets and LinkedIn sharing, to name a few.

- Curation: The news is then filtered by the Diggs and Comments of passionate users who have gained reputation as top influencers in each Newsroom topic.

Although the methods of ranking news items by their popularity or by recommendations from active members on a website aren't new approaches, Digg has never before made use of signals from social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. In fact, when Digg was created, none of these three sites were as influential or popular as they are now.

"Many are measuring news coverage by how many times a story is shared by a reader with their friends and followers," Williams said. "But is the most popular story also the most meaningful? Not necessarily. Just ask music fans about Rebecca Black, or political junkies about Weinergate. Newsrooms are designed to find the most meaningful news for a given topic -- to separate valuable from popular."

So, will the approach work? That will depend on how many people use Digg as their destination to read the news of the day or hour. The last time Digg made major changes to its site, back in August 2010, a number of users headed to rival news reader Reddit.

For now, the old Digg (which acts a bit more like a personal news feed) remains live. Digg Newsrooms are invite-only but soon will be opened to the public, Williams said. The CEO called Newsrooms a "first step" at enabling Digg's users to find exactly what they want.

"Sifting out the most relevant and meaningful news each day is a hard problem to solve," Williams said. "Creating the best experience for every topic is a long road."

RELATED:

Reddit considers itself a benefactor of Digg user revolt

Google News badges track what you read, are sharable and social

New Digg CEO, take note: How social media companies respond to irate users

-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

twitter.com/nateog

Image: A screen shot of Digg's Newsrooms. Credit: Digg

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