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New ‘Breaking News’ App Feature Doesn’t Want to Waste Your Time

Breaking News appWe all get so many daily breaking news alerts that don’t actually merit the term, and now, NBC News-owned “Breaking News” aims to break news specific to you, right where you live.

The breaking news aggregator, whose General Manager Cory Bergman launched this site, has created a geo-targeted update for its iOS mobile app. The new feature pushes proximity-specific news alerts breaking near a user’s location, honing in on specific neighborhoods, cities, zip codes, and more.

“Breaking news is broken, and it’s only getting worse,” Bergman writes, stressing how many different outlets and platforms are breaking news without considering whether it’s relevant to a specific person.

The app’s proximity alert triggers when there’s a significant story breaking at a location, and the app user is inside the story’s “impact zone.”

During the company’s testing faze, they tried out the system during an East Harlem explosion.

We tested it with the East Harlem building explosion and collapse, sending out a push notification to our beta testers in New York City moments after we verified the first reports on Twitter. We could’ve sent the alert only to people in the neighborhood (East Harlem) or the borough (Manhattan), but we estimated that the large column of smoke and transportation interruptions would impact New York City as a whole.

we tested it with the East Harlem building explosion and collapse, sending out a push notification to our beta testers in New York City moments after we verified the first reports on Twitter. We could’ve sent the alert only to people in the neighborhood (East Harlem) or the borough (Manhattan), but we estimated that the large column of smoke and transportation interruptions would impact New York City as a whole.

This is why algorithms have proven problematic in the past. To solve the problem, we’ve combined experienced editorial judgment with technology in real-time. Our platform narrows down the geography, then our editors make judgment calls on the fly to select the appropriate geographic boundary. The impact zone varies with both the story and the unique qualities of the geography around it. It works internationally, too, and it will follow you as you travel — an invaluable resource even if you don’t use the app for anything else.

Check out the app’s video for the app, which features a woman getting continual “breaking news” alerts…about Justin Bieber.

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