(Old) New(s)

I wonder about the use of the tag “news” in blogs, even though I use it myself. By definition “news” must be “new”. After a few days or weeks….or for the stronger stories, months, it becomes “old“. It moves from “present” to “past”; “current affairs” to “history”.

When we blog about a story currently doing the rounds on the news media and apply the tag “news” to it it IS news. Is it still “news” six months from now? If it is, then the tag “news” still applies; if not, how many of us go back through our posts to remove the “news” tag?

My blog only came into existence around a week ago (from today 8th April 2007…..in case you’re reading this in 2020) so my backlog is easy to manage so far; it does not mean that I’ll be stripping the “news” tag from past posts……even though I really should.

The design of web 2.0 applications does provide an answer (of sorts). It shows us the latest posts first; the latest blog entries first. It sorts our past posts into archives search-able by month and year. The news media have less of an issue with this, as their front page is their “news“, their video or audio reports are their “news”.

Blogs are of course a relatively new concept, with even the most experienced loggers having a few years experience which means that most “news” in blogs will still be reasonably classed as “new“.

As many have worked out so far, web 2.0 is the evolution of the internet……the concept of those with power having a one way conversation with us via announcements, adverts etc is coming to an end, replaced by users talking to each other; giving a more personal view of what’s really going on which often goes against the story those in power want us to see.

This will only get stronger as time passes; which by default means a growth in the number of new blogs and blog entries…..which adds up to a growth in the entries filed under the “news” tag. This is a one way trip……no-one ever cleans out that box. Imagine if blogs started in the 60’s.

  1. NEWS – JFK assassinated in Dallas
  2. NEWS – Beatles cause uproar in US by claiming to be bigger than Jesus
  3. NEWS – Man lands on moon
  4. NEWS – US public split over Vietnam war
  5. NEWS – President Nixon resigns over Watergate scandal

You get the idea. These events are history, not news……yet will still be tagged as “news” simply because no-one changed them when they went out of date. Some of these stories have grown conspiracy theories which will continue to live on. This will keep the hits up, and the responses as different people try to explain their theories or disprove others.

The programming of the web 2.0 software is diplomatic in the fact that whichever lists as top is based on stats alone, not subject matter I welcome this; it makes it VERY difficult to be controlled by those who seek to tell us things are not as they are……because someone will take the fall for making it that way. By stats alone the Vietnam war would likely be “news”.

I don’t think there is an answer to this, I’m just laying it out there for people to think about when they tag a new blog entry as “news“. It’s also worth baring in mind when someone says “oh, there are 3 million news blogs online now”…..ask yourself, are they all “news”?

It may be that at some point in the future some programmer finds a way to maintain the “news” box, and find a way to empty the detritus when it no longer classifies as “news” without censoring any content. Maybe a blog’s responses do that job; if no-one responds in a week……is it still “news”? Is the blog itself “news” or the responses to it? What is “news”?

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