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Maybe publisher cooperation is a path forward for news, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of public media
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Feb. 18, 2014, 10:30 a.m.
LINK: blog.breakingnews.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Joshua Benton   |   February 18, 2014

sochi-olympics-logoThe folks at NBC’s Breaking News have a post up looking at how their users responded to the arrival of a huge story — the Sochi Winter Olympics. (Breaking News is ahead of the pack at encouraging readers to curate their content — by blocking stories they’re not interested in and asking for more push alerts on others.)

Since the Olympics began on Feb. 6, “2014 Sochi Olympics” has become our most muted topic ever as users choose to avoid spoilers and consume Olympics coverage in their own time. And while more users are muting “2014 Sochi Olympics” than anything else, it is also our second-most alerted topic, meaning many users want real-time alerts on the Olympics.

Breaking News editors have published around 225 news items since events first began in Sochi on Feb. 6, including news on cultural moments, weather reports, pictures, video and of course, event results. When it comes to event results specifically, Breaking News users are choosing a spoiler-free experience. Nearly three times as many users are choosing to mute “Olympics event results” as oppose to alerting it.

(As an NBC property, of course, Breaking News has an incentive to encourage people to get their results at night on TV.)

It’s a dead horse I’ve beaten many times, but I wish more news sites had similar capacity for user filtering — to tell NYTimes.com “I don’t care about sports,” or Gawker.com “Never show me media stories again,” or Wired.com “I’m insane, make sure to highlight every last story about wearables.” It’s a real issue for news sites that produce large amounts of content but can only show so much through their front doors.

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