It’s not just about time. That’s the point that Dave Winer and Scott Karp are missing. Nor does every – or for that matter probably many – readers visit news sites repeatedly throughout the day. Once again, this seems like it might be a case of those of us in the echo chamber believing we are the norm.
Scott and Dave both basically argue that news sources should provide a chronological view of their news. They both frame it as an option, but clearly press for it to be the default view.
But this overlooks the fact that not all news sites are like the AP news wire providing breaking news. In fact, for many years I had access to the raw AP feed for my job and I found it to be a sometimes interesting, but often frustrating, way to view the news. It was chronological – which was great when it was a hot story I was following, but not so useful for the vast majority of news stories.
Good reporting does more than simply regurgitate the facts as quickly as possible. A powerful news article will actually have a shelf-life of more than a few minutes until the next story is published.
When the New York Giants won the Super Bowl, was that any less newsworthy at 3 pm than it was at 11 am the day after? Of course not. Did the facts change at all to merit a new story being written in the meantime? Nope. So shouldn’t it still play high up on a sports web site or a New York newspaper web page? I think so.
Certainly a chronological feed would have value to true newshounds – and as Dave points out for editors themselves. But given that most readers don’t spend all day reloading the New York Times, CNET, or BusinessWeek, let’s not get too carried away.