U.S. News Media Group, the parent of monthly mag U.S. News and World Report, is working with content aggregator Loud3r on a series of real-time news feeds. The first part of the effort is Congress Tracker, which is naturally timed for the upcoming midterm elections. The channel is meant to serve as a complement to the original reporting at U.S. News, Loud3r CEO Lowell Goss said in an interview with paidContent. “Users’ expectation in the internet age is for breadth and depth, and the traditional news organ needs to apply technology to get there because there are some tasks that are impossible for a human staff to cover,” Goss said. “The world expects every possible article that there might be on a particular news item. And we can support that with our system.”
Congress Tracker will serve as a template for future channels, Goss said, but he declined to provide details about what else is in the works. He did say that the next channels would play to U.S. News’ strengths. So it’s reasonable to assume that there will likely be a business, health and education news tracker in near future.
Among the tasks that Congress Tracker can perform that would be prohibitively expensive and time-consuming for a magazine’s staff is the promise to have updated profiles of all 435 members of Congress. It will also feature an up-to-the-minute news feed covering hotly debated political issues.
Unlike its erstwhile rivals Time and Newsweek, U.S. News has been more willing to play with the conventions of news magazine production. Two years ago, the magazine moved from weekly to bi-weekly format. Then a few months later, at the end of 2008, the magazine became a monthly.
“We’re seeing an accelerated adoption of our services by traditional publishers,” Goss said. “Aggregation doesn’t only free up the newsroom, it can serve as inspiration for reporters and editors.” Over the past few months, the three-year-old Pasadena, CA-based company launched aggregation programs with the London Evening Standard and Chicago Tribune.
Perhaps the most important collaboration Loud3r has struck occurred last December when the New York Daily News took a “major stake” in the company as part of a $4 million funding. It’s also worth nothing that U.S News Media and the Daily News are both owned by real estate magnate Mort Zuckerman. Asked about the connection, Goss said that Zuckerman’s ownership of both periodicals opened the door to the latest deal, but the deal with U.S News was struck independently. “It was not an automatic result of our relationship to the Daily News.”
Loud3r, which was founded by Goss, a former SVP at iFilm/MTV Networks (NYSE: VIA), is working on a couple of deals with both traditional publishers and online-only publications that are expected to be announced over the next few months. When asked whether the company would try to expand its content aggregation services into advertising, Goss said no. “Loud3r is not in ad net or ad sales business,” he said. “We’re sticking with content aggregation. Having said that, upcoming partnerships may include a broadening of our business model as we look to offer more turnkey solutions.”