How people consume their news media has changed considerably over the years, going from local printed newspapers, to televised broadcasts that can span across the state and even nationally, to the web where people can not only obtain news about stuff locally but internationally quite easily thanks to the spread of devices which all either have access to cell networks or WiFi hotspots for data along with apps to feed people the content. There’s no longer a need for traditional printed newspapers although they still remain and a portion of people will of course still prefer to read their news from these particular institutions. Many news outlets have added an online presence too though and we now have major publications competing for readership alongside smaller blogs and sites.
A new app which has just launched on Android today called Blockfeed aims to give people a reimagined way to consume news media: By location. The way that the app works is that it use geolocation data from your smartphone or tablet and it “hyper localizes” it to a fairly precise location, perhaps down to a city block. Whenever a user opens up the Blockfeed app, it can tell where that user is and then give them a relevant list of curated stories all aggregated from different sources so they can pick and choose stories to read based on their location. Selecting a story to read then takes the user to the actual source page (the publication) of where the story was posted, so in this respect it acts no differently than many other news aggregation apps. Blockfeed also uses an algorithm that can determine the popularity of a particular news story by counting how many times it’s being shared on social media, which helps to determine which stories get shown to users when they open up the app, but it also makes it possible for even smaller blogs to be seen right alongside larger publications.
Blockfeed is currently only available in New York City as it happens to be the location of the startup, but Blockfeed also mentions that they’re “looking for dense urban areas and high-quality local journalism scenes” and New York City happens to fit the bill. This also gives some insight as to where the next possible locations could be for the app’s expanded support, with Blockfeed referencing cities like San Francisco and L.A. as possible west coast locations while cities like Boston, Philidelphia, and Washington D.C. could be the next set of locations on the east coast. If you live in New York City now you can check out the app as it’s a free download.