Newser.com, the online news aggregator that web entrepreneur/journalist Michael Wolff started last summer in an “attempt to rescue a common narrative of public life,” is in the process of a redesign. A Newser insider gave us a sneak peek at the new front page, which is expected to go live in the next few days.
Truth is, if the basic conceit of Newser—that people need gatekeepers to protect them from freedom, by scanning the web and telling them which articles to read—weren’t so aggressively anti-future and anti-Internet, we’d be tempted to say the new design is kind of innovative. This is mostly because of a new sliding bar that lets you decide how much “soft news” and how much “hard news” you want presented to you on the page. All the way to the left means lots of roadside bombings in Iraq and wildfires in California; all the way to the right means gay Dumbledore and Snoop Dogg’s tax problems.
It’s a nice idea, one that Mr. Wolff mentioned in the Vanity Fair article he wrote about Newser last month. “I wonder if this plasticity is miraculous or ludicrous,” he mused, and floated the idea of using the slider tool to select content based on, say, its political orientation.
The other innovation on the new site is the infinite scrollbar, which lets you scroll into the past forever and see old items appear before your eyes as you go.