Clearly highlight true "top news" stories
This is an interesting one. We currently have a top news section that is based on the top news feed from theglobeandmail.com . We also have a popular section based on all of your ratings. Would you prefer the ability for editors to make certain stories ‘sticky’ so that they always stay at the top of the sections? If not, what is the best way in your mind to derive “top news”
Spencer Callaghan commented
I think giving some discretion to Globe editors to determine the "top stories" would help the overall quality of the stories.
Several times I have tried to read an interesting Globe article that I saw on the front page at the newsstand only to find that it is nowhere to be seen under a pile of sports, entertainment and tech stories.
I am a big fan of crowdsourcing and user generated content but editors still have a place in journalism.
1. You say you have a “Top News” section in the app. I’d argue that you don’t. Yes, you have a section that you have labeled “top news” in your app, but it does NOT contain what one would reasonably expect to find under such a category. Top News in my mind means the stuff you’d see on page one of a newspaper, or as the leadoff stories on a TV newscast, or featured prominently on (and at the top of) any newspaper web-site. Your “Top News” section contains a mishmash of all types of content that the Globe publishes. That includes a few pieces of Top News, mixed in with a whole lot of other non-top-news (and often non-news) content.
2. “Would you prefer the ability for editors to make certain stories 'sticky' so that they always stay at the top of the sections?” Well, isn’t that what happens with pretty much every newspaper, newspaper web-site, and virtually other news source in existence?? Someone – usually in an editorial position – sorts all content as mainstream news, business news, sports news, etc , and then also ORDERS that content based on RELEVANCE. That’s why wars, plane crashes, presidential inaugurations are always featured at the top of every news site (or on page one of the paper, or at the start of a newscast) – and why other news and “interest pieces” are NOT treated the same way as “TOP NEWS”!
3. “If not, what is the best way in your mind to derive "top news"?” Well, you people work for the Globe and Mail! Isn’t that exactly what you folks already do every single day?? Your printed paper and your web-site do a great job at figuring out what is top news and communicating it accordingly. Just apply the exact same news delivery principles to this app!?!!
The two biggest problems this app needs to overcome are (1) treating all pieces of content as equal in weight, whether it’s a major news item of global significance that’s just broken or an article about the Winnipeg Blue Bombers turning a profit (currently in top spot as THE current top news story on your app) and (2) ordering all content chronologically (and only chronologically). Think what that would look like if it was a printed newspaper: Page 1 – where the really big, "hard news" stories should 'exist' – would instead contain all content on all topics published between 2am and 4am. Page 2 would contain all content published between midnight and 2am. Page 3 would contain all articles published between 10pm and midnight. Page 4 – the 8pm to 10pm page – would probably be full of sport scores and stories. And so on . . .