Bumping into Newsvine CEO Mike Davidson at the pre-event EconSM mixer tonight was a real pleasure - especially since Newsvine has just launched its new "Evergreen" release, which includes a smorgasbord of new features and sources. Mike was pumped up about the modular design of the new Newsvine front page that allows a user to add and content modules in a drag-and-drop design - including modules that allow one to aggregate headline RSS feeds from major news suppliers such as The New York Times, the Washington Post. Local news and weather get their fair exposure as well. But to me the best things about this redesign are the simple and obvious ones that help to highlight the increasingly powerful contributions from Newsviners themselves. The listing of AP headlines in the upper right corner of the home page are now replaced by an enhanced display of the top news story seeds (bookmarks) from Newsvine contributors, followed by a real-time feed of stories with new seeds and comments. The top AP story is still featured in the middle column but with robust contributions from its members Newsvine can afford to highlight their efforts as a default mode.
There are merits in each of the the social media news services available today but Newsvine seems to be excelling in developing a community of contributors who are more than just bookmarkers and commenters. Newsvine creates a good share of its own original content, including breaking news from contributor "Killfile" on the recent Virginia Tech shootings. As highlighted in our new research paper on social media best practices Newsvine maintains a "Code of Honor" for its members that its lead contributors are intent on using to encourage quality content. The contributions may vary quite a bit in quality nevertheless but an environment that encourages quality more than specific outlooks is a crucial factor in attracting contributors who can find and create content worth reading and discussing. With the Evergreen features Newsvine is allowing its leaders to be seen as leaders more emphatically - and increasingly they're up to the task. Add in Evergreen's ability to blend in mainstream news and information from popular and local sources and it gets that much easier to stick around and catch the real-time news buzz that Newsvine is perfecting one post at a time.
It's a highly competitive field out there for social media news services, especially as major portals such as Yahoo and MySpace become more proficient in blending in news contributions from users, so Newsvine's future is hardly guaranteed any more than any other emerging service. But if you're looking for an example of a social media news portal that gets an awful lot of things right you could do far worse than to use Newsvine as your template for success.