Extra, extra, download all about it: Online news pages designed specially for you can blend TV immediacy with print-media depth, all filtered for your reading comfort. Just visit the site of your choice, fill out a form detailing your interests, and voila — the straight dope on the fast-breaking subjects you crave. In theory, at least, it’s as simple as plucking your favorite section out of the Sunday paper.
But are these news filters a genuine solution or just the gimmick du jour? The concept is still in its infancy, so it may be too soon to tell. Says Dan Woods, director of editorial technology at Time Inc.’s New Media — and a subscriber to a half dozen personalized news services, ”These are the first cars.” With that in mind, let’s take a few news jalopies for a spin.
MSNBC (www.msnbc.com), no subscription. This glossy, newly made-over site is a behemoth. Expect an annoying wait as it loads its jazzy (and sometimes irrelevant) graphics. Ultimately, though, you’ll end up with topflight news, sculpted specially for the Web and updated constantly. B+