Minnesota’s latest online news start-up, BringMeTheNews, is in the process of launching (officially Sunday) with their first story out the door regarding for Sen. Norm Coleman’s current health.
There isn’t much to see yet, but that wouldn’t stop a blogger like me from having an opinion. Here are a few.
1. They know how to shoot video. Notice the use of a tripod. They’re cheap these days. Try using one.
2. They’re better as shooting video than publishing it. Rather than use any of the popular video hosting sites like YouTube to publish video, they’ve uploaded their .flv to Amazon’s S3 for hosting. The problem with this is that most video hosting sites, in addition to covering bandwidth costs, also include many features for sharing videos via email, embedding, etc. It will be interesting to see what their workflow becomes for video in the future.
Personally, I think the current system creates more work for them while limiting exposure. For example, I imagine quite a few political blogs would be willing to embed the Norm video along with a link back to Bring.mn, but won’t be able to technically figure out how to do so. TwinCities.com put it on their site in abbreviated form after loading it to Brightcove (which has much better sharing options).
3. The interview with Sen. Coleman comes across as more of an MSP Magazine profile than a news piece. How about asking some sort of timely question of the former Senator regarding the healthcare debate? He’s of sound mind and may have an opinion on things like, “How would someone without health insurance cope with the situation you find yourself in?” Perhaps we’ll see more of that on Sunday from the site?
4. If bring.mn captures casual conversations like the one they’ve published while in the pursuit of news, please put them on the site. While not entirely newsworthy, they do help us learn more about people in the news than a typical TV interview reveals in a soundbite.
5. This is probably one of the most interesting things bring.mn is doing:
BringMeTheNews extends out from the Web site as a leading provider of important news and information in a growing network of radio stations — starting with Cities 97, KOOL 108 and KFAN online.
The biggest challenge a new news start-up has is obscurity. By having a well known local news personality out front and getting air time on local radio, they should be able to pull traffic back to their site for more in-depth coverage of the news of the day.
6. News Filtration. The yet to be launched site states:
“BringMeTheNews provides high-level filtration of the unending stream of breaking stories and information.”
Or, as they describe it on their Facebook page:
At BringMeTheNews, we look for the best stories that impact our readers: Minnesotans. We filter through hundreds of online news and non-traditional sources and we’re committed to reporting of our own.
By that, I think they mean they’ll be aggregating the best of what’s happening by linking to original coverage of important stories. This is in addition to the original news gathering and reporting they do on their site.
7. The Facebook site may give some insight into the story flow may look like.
In the less than 24 hours since launch, they’ve linked to:
but not kare11.com
I’ve become a fan of their site on Facebook, but doubt I’ll remain one for long simply because I don’t use Facebook as a place to go for news coverage. Others do, and the cost of publishing or republishing content into Facebook is nearly zero, so it’s great to see them tapping into a content channel that’s largely ignored by local news sites.
8. Design-wise, I find the site very difficult to read due to both font sizes and color schemes. I’m not as old as Kupchela but I’m older than Tom Elko and Taylor Carik. Once launched, perhaps I’ll be able to read it through Google Reader where they’ve adopted a readably large black text on white background layout.
9. The yet to be launched site does have RSS feeds.
10. Find more coverage at TwinCities.com before it gets buried behind bad technical decisions.