Even a guy burned by one failed Internet start-up can't resist the idea that this latest technology—like Linotype, TV, and cable before it—could remake the news. So here goes Newser.com, the author's attempt to rescue a common narrative of public life.
by Michael Wolff - Vanity Fair - October 2007
In every newsperson, not just Rupert Murdoch, there's the dream of owning a newspaper—my paper. This retro dream is why, for the past six months, every Wednesday morning, I've been on a conference call about the subject of software design and digital engineering as it relates to the news. Although the discussion is specifically about how to make the news exciting (come on, guys, if it bleeds it ledes), it is often as tedious an hour as any I remember from high-school math. I've been able, however, using the mute button, to shower during these calls.
The call gathers its participants from Chicago, Boston, Silicon Valley, and New York. On the one side are the newspeople—including, along with me, former New York–magazine editor Caroline Miller, former managing editor of the St. Paul Pioneer Press Ken Doctor, and various writers and reporters I've dragooned—and on the other side, the software engineers and their marketing counterparts from a technology company called Highbeam Research, which owns one of the largest news databases in the world (50 million articles). Highbeam has kindly agreed to put up the seed money to let us start our news … what? Not paper, not show, not screen, not portal (nobody says that anymore)—a news something in digital form. More...