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Pocket-sized news

A new app could be the final nail in the coffin of traditional media, but it could also be its saviour…

Newspapers, magazines and other traditional news sources now have another reason to be worried. As The Message has previously reported, the impending demise of those news organs has long been anticipated. Now, though, a new social media-inspired iPhone app may have hastened the end.

Summly, created by 17-year-old British whiz kid Nick D’Aloisio, has been called ‘one of the most disruptive apps of 2012’. Why, because it presents news in an iGen and Gen Y-friendly format – in snippets.

The free app proudly boasts that it ‘redefines news for the mobile world with algorithmically generated summaries from hundreds of sources. Innovative gestures, animations and great summaries make reading the news fun: easy to use, easy to scan, easy to read, clear and concise.’

D’Aloisio says he came up with the idea because he didn’t feel his generation engages with news as it should ‘in part because most of our life is digital and existing technologies don’t necessarily do the best job of engaging us with news content. So I was hoping to build something that could’.

So now if you want a pocket-sized, completely mobile, iPhone version of the news all you have to do is select your favourite news source or topic and let Summly do the rest. Simply add a keyword on any topic in the world and the app finds the content and summarises it for you.

With content delivered in 400 characters (‘more than a tweet, but less than a full article’), it’s perfect for the mobile generation.

The Guardian reports that this venture ‘may be viewed warily by the newspaper industry’. However, it may yet be its saviour – giving it renewed relevance in the mobile, social media-centric world. The Summly website invites publishers to submit their content for summary, potentially increasing its reach, and is already working with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation to summarise its content.

Supporters of and advisers to the start-up include such high-profile names as Ashton Kutcher, Troy Carter, Betaworks, Yoko Ono and Stephen Fry, with the latter even lending his presence to promote the app.

 

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