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CurrentTV dropping the “TV” moving to a mixed social/edited news and comment aggregator

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CurrentTV, Al Gore’ mixed cable/internet ‘news’ network that relies on user-generated content, is relaunching, Mashable.com reports , and moving their focus a bit away from video (they’re dropping the TV from their name) and into ways to share news, ideas, videos and commentary.

So now all users are invited to submit stories, links and videos.
This looks somewhat like a social bookmarking site, and as users can
vote on content it’s a bit of a Digg
approach as well. The number of votes is not displayed, however. Just
the percentage of votes that are moving the story up or down. And with
another feature we’re beginning to see a lot of, Current’s editors are
choosing the stories that are available on the home page for users to
vote on and further discuss.

 

CurrentTV arose out of the ashes of Gore’s failed US presidential race when he got together with businessman Joel Hyatt to create an alternative news source (read: liberal) that targetted youth 18-34. Together they bought a small international cable TV network, renamed it INDtv, renamed it CurrentTV, and launched it jointly via cable TV and the internet. Their TV show (which gathers material from web submissions as well as it’s own content) reaches about 30 million US homes via cable, according to Wikipedia.
Their relaunch (which apparently is in Beta – meaning only beta testers currently access all of it’s features) reveals them grappling with some of the same basic issues we are all facing – how do you directly involve your ‘audience’ (users) in a conversation that enhances your work, as opposed to destroying it (see the LA Times’ disasterous experiment with an editorial Wiki)?
They’re involving users in providing links to news and video — a smart move, I think, why not let your readers trawl the web for you? — and asking them to "vote" stories higher up in the web site’s queue. But they’re maintaining tight control over what appears in the main queue; edtiors select and users approve or disapprove and get to see their votes reflected in what the website does.
Bill Dunphy

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