A while back, Yahoo did something refreshing. It started asking readers to rate how interesting a news story was to them.
Yahoo has continued to make efforts in developing user participation. Recently, they have redesigned their movie section, which seems to take some of its best ideas from IMDB.com, metacritic.com and Amazon.
IMDB emphasizes user comments. Metacritic emphasizes critic summaries. Amazon enables users to create favorites lists to share with others. Yahoo does all three, along with integrating their message boards and web site directory.
Front and center is a call for your review. Critics and readers voices share equal billing but rarely equal views (users seem to be more upbeat than critics.) While it’s fun to see what others are saying (more than 70,000, in some cases), it will be interesting to see how Yahoo will use this in more meaningful ways. For starters, why not show the top-rated or most active movies in the same way Yahoo treats news stories, as mentioned above.
Traditional news media online don’t begin to compare with the likes of IMDB, Yahoo or Rotten Tomatoes. Itís odd not to see more news sites implement such forms of participation. Sure, some news media sites have done a better job in recent years by enabling and integrating reader reviews. But they should take cues from Yahoo and others here by increasing not only the participatory elements in their design, but also the number of connections to similar or related content on the Internet. This would make for a more compelling and relevant networked news experience for their readers.