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HomeTechnologyNBC News, Washington Post, SmartNews apps retool content packaging ahead of midterms

NBC News, Washington Post, SmartNews apps retool content packaging ahead of midterms

The news app and aggregator is preparing for the Nov. 8 U.S. midterm elections with new features to help readers, with the goal of improving how election updates and information are packaged.

Features range from delivering more personalized news to more instant updates and visuals in the app feed. Here’s what aggregator SmartNews and publishers NBC News and The Washington Post have added to their apps:

SmartNews: Personalization The Local Election News

SmartNews delivers more personalized content blocks ahead of Election Day. On October 6, the news aggregator app returned to its midterm elections channel tab. But this year, as users scroll down SmartNews’ feed, they’ll get five to eight themed content blocks, with personalized recommendations based on the data SmartNews collects about that user, such as their location and interests to follow. For example, if users follow reproductive rights, they will be blocked from abortion content as a key issue in the medium term, said Chuck Lee, director of product management at SmartNews. In mid-October, SmartNews began rolling out a “unified push block” feature on the app’s main channel to package content around key themes and events, not just feeds of individual stories from different sources. The “Top Stories” section on the main SmartNews channel will soon be dedicated to midterm exams. Ahead of the elections, the “2022 Midterm Elections” block will show the Senate and House of Representatives leanings, and on Election Day this will be replaced by a results tracker showing vote counts. This year, SmartNews users will also be able to filter the map showing which states and territories are tilted to the right or left. The vote tracker will show results (at the national, state and regional levels) for House, Senate and gubernatorial races with seating map visuals.

NBC News: Improved Content Pack

NBC News in three weeks The company has rolled out updates to its app to allow for more flexibility in how content is packaged and surfaced around key news topics. Matt Grimson, Assistant Editor-in-Chief, Platforms and Social Media, previously said NBC News’ app presented stories through partial packages such as “Related Stories” or “Latest Stories,” And it’s limited to about five that can be packaged together. For NBC News and MSNBC. This setup makes it difficult to highlight comprehensive coverage of major news events in the app, Grimson said. NBC News can now create “hero packs” that highlight the day’s breaking news stories at the top of the app. Ahead of the midterm elections, the program will be titled “Election 2022,” with bullet points showing relevant stories within the block, Grimson said. On Election Day, NBC News will offer content packs on the House, Senate and gubernatorial elections, as well as other key races. Stories can now also be tagged and tagged to highlight scoops, breaking news, and developing stories. One package of NBC News’ new search features on the app called “Decision 2022” features interactive features like NBC News’ “Plan Your Vote” tool, which provides state-by-state voting rules and information. A new menu at the top of the app now links to a live blog about the midterm elections. An NBC spokesperson said two-thirds of mobile app users return to the app multiple times a day.

Washington Post: More Live, Visual Information

Since The Washington Post has been updating its app since this summer in preparation for the midterm elections. The goal, says The Post’s head of product Jessica Gilbert, is to create an experience that “feels dynamic, alive and personal” by offering faster updates and more visual integration across the app. “Quick Posts” – or short, on-the-ground reports or analysis from Post reporters – were redesigned in early October to include reporters’ photos and bios in the app. The app was also upgraded last week to support more images, social posts and graphics such as maps. Gilbert said Quick Posts provides a live blogging experience on The Post app, allowing journalists to quickly share ongoing updates on breaking news stories. According to The Post, users who participate in the live blogging experience read twice as many articles per month as those who don’t. Vertical video will also be a key part of The Post’s mid-term coverage and will be shared on the app. The app will feature Instagram Reels and TikTok created by Post reporters and their social team, as well as original videos including candidate interviews, election explainers and key takeaways. This year, the app added support for vertical video and autoplay. The Post’s app will also start a live video show at 7 p.m. on Election Day, led by veteran news anchor Libby Casey.


All media executives interviewed by Digiday stated, These latest app updates are a test to see what resonates with users as they prepare for the 2024 US presidential election. “The way we’re thinking about it is: How do we test our assumptions about what voters want in the next election? That’s in many ways a little bit of a test of some of the key assumptions we think are important for the upcoming election. The presidential [election] is critical,” said SmartNews’ Lee. The Washington Post’s Gilbert called the latest app update a “runway” to experiment with new features and build on the next election.

  • https://digiday.com/?p=473747


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