When News Isn’t Really News

I was researching the recent Stuart Scott firing to see if there were any new developments, and came across this post from WebProNews.com:

They have a little sidebar showing “Related Stories”. Take a peek:

So let’s see: the related stories for a breaking news event about a fired executive, with lots of rumors of inappropriate relationships with a direct subordinate, include posts from:

  • July 2007
  • May 2007 (4)
  • October 2006
  • August 2006
  • July 2006
  • June 2006
  • April 2006

… and whose subjects range from mergers, to databases, to corporate events, to productivity software. But hey, all the posts are probably tagged with “Microsoft”, right? So they’re relevant!

Well no. Relevant news in this situation is pretty clearly NOT an 18-month-old post about Microsoft’s open-source lab, Port 25. Relevant news would be about Martin Taylor, Ken DiPietro, maybe John Connors. Maybe even Melinda French, if you’re willing to stretch the links a bit.

The lesson here? Relevance is not just about keywords, tags, etc. There is a multidimensional aspect to relevance, of which “subject” is but one dimension.

You’d think a publication with both “WebPro” and “News” in the title would do a little better here. But hey, it’s probably just one guy in his home office in Kentucky wearing jammies and rolling into work after the kids go to school in the morning.

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