This has been a rumor, which has turned out to be true: MySpace news (article) is going to launch. Think Google News + Digg. MySpace is becoming a Yahoo!-like portal and this is part of the evidence. Yahoo! News, the number 1 online news site, should be mildly concerned though not panicked. Digg should probably panic.
These “social news” sites emerge directly from the “most emailed” sections of newspaper sites. And most recently USAToday redesigned to include enhanced social features. Topix.com also recently changed its model to be more community focused.
So “social news” is a bit of a trend but largely about a larger online phenomenon: what I’m calling “the culture of participation.” (That’ll be the title of my business bestseller on the same subject.)
In newspaper news, PaidContent has a nice and pretty complete roundup of recent Q1 earnings. There are differences at each company, NY Times, Gannett, Media General, Tribune, but the story is generally the same: print earnings are flat or down and online is up.
Now back to MySpace . . .
MySpace news like other news aggregators and nouveau news sites depends on professional journalism and newspapers in particular but it also threatens them by turning news into a “commodity.” This is the paradox and eventually people are going to recognize that newspapers and professional journalism must be supported in order for these other sites to exist. I think many young people (I’m 43) fail to connect the dots here. They love and consumer news but don’t support newspapers.
TechCrunch has more specific detail on how MySpace News will be organized, including a couple of screenshots.
Related: The SF Chronicle (Hearst) introduces front page ads, per Editor & Publisher. This is analogous to cover ads on yellow pages books, which are very unpopular among some who think that (along with other large ad units) they negatively impact usage.