The NewsiT Blog

Bringing people together around interests and circumstances they share with people they trust. Create, collaborate and connect on the NewsiT mobile platform.

Visit us at: www.newsit.net
Twitter: @newsitnews | @NewsiT_editor | @younewsit
Facebook: Facebook.com/newsitnews

  1. NewsiT Version 2.2 Is Out

    Good news! NewsiT version 2.2 has been released on Apple!

    So what’s new on v2.2? You can now rate contributions to push the best to the top. You’ll also find advanced social sharing options and more. Check it out and please let us know what you think.

    If you have not downloaded the free NewsiT app yet, now is the perfect time to try it. The election is heating up and there is a huge storm bearing down on the east coast. These stories and more are unfolding on NewsiT and we’d love for you to join in the conversation… and the fun.

    Meanwhile, we’re hard at work on v2.3, which will debut in early November. We are excited to report that this release will feature a home screen. From here you’ll be able to see the latest from your NewsiT friends, be able to share content more widely and see how the community is rating your contributions and those of your friends.

    We are constantly working to make NewsiT better. Stay tuned for more updates as they roll out.

    Visit www.NewsiT.net to learn more and get the app.

  2. 3, 2, 1 Blast Off! NewsiT 2.0 App Launches

    Today, NewsiT launches its 2.0 iPhone and iPad apps.

    We’ve worked hard this year to improve wildly on our original ‘minimum viable product’ - and for those of you who’ve been with us from the start, you’ll notice some very big differences. 

    A new ‘look and feel’, a complete re-think of the user experience, and improved architecture of what is now social, collaborative, interest-focused, and a full integration with Twitter and Facebook.

    At NewsiT people come together around interests they share with people they trust. Threads evolve and update over time, breaking the fleeting nature of traditional news. Our algorithms bring Tweets into the mix, appearing within original crowd-sourced NewsiT threads. These Tweets are being mined and sorted for hyper-relevance to each thread, and you will see functionality improve daily - as our technology platform is increasingly able to discern - in real time - the validity, authenticity, relevance and factual accuracy of each contributed element.

    A couple of notes for NewsiT members:

    For those of you downloaded NewsiT’s original iPhone app (versions 1.0, 1.1 and 1.2), you will not get the new app as an update. This is a long story about Apple rules, and relates to the fact this is a native iPhone app and we did not, when submitted last week to Apple, support the iPad. But as of today, we ARE on iPad too!

    To get the new app, you will have to download it again from the app store. It’s free and easy.   You can get it here:
     http://bit.ly/OrGh9Y

    One other difference: You will need to login using either Twitter or Facebook.

    You will also notice that the new website no longer supports content contribution. As more funds become available, this will change, but for the moment we have invested in iPhone and iPad, our powerful algorithms and we are hard at work on an API/SDK for our partners to use on their iPhones/iPads and websites. We will keep you posted.In the meantime, please ‘kick the tires’, contribute to threads, start threads, invite your friends, follow cool people … and tell us what you think. Ask your friends to check it out.

    And meantime, we want to use your feedback to shape current development iterations. We are working hard on improving the back end functionality (in particular making sure the Tweets aggregate properly within feeds), adding other aspects like rating/ranking, game layer and more.

    Watch out also for the 2.1 and 2.2 releases coming very soon - you will see continual improvements.

    Thanks again

    Melinda and our awesome team!

  3. Countdown to Apple Release

    We’re so excited to give everybody a sneak peek at our next generation iPhone app. We anticipate it’s going to be available from September 21, touch wood…

    Now you can discover facts and friends around interests you share with people you trust. You decide what interests you - and who you want to invite into your communities - and we make sure you have relevant, accurate ‘news you can use’ and trust. It’s fun, easy, and here’s what it looks like!

  4. Meet the New Team

    We’re excited to announce that Kevin Survance has joined NewsiT as its acting CTO. Kevin is an innovator, results-driver and all round good guy. Most recently he founded Eleos Technologies, which enables enterprises to use smart phones to document field events with photos and high-quality document images. Kevin was also the CTO of M33 Integrated Solutions (2008-2011) and MapQuest (2006-2008), where he led development and operation of MapQuest’s consumer site with 45 million unique visitors per month and 3,600 requests per second, as well as B2B and mobile products. He also led the 50-member development team at American Express that developed the company’s system for instant credit decisions. Luckily for us, Kevin brings with him a team of developers with senior level expertise at Microsoft, Pfizer, MapQuest, BlackBerry and several Department of Defense contractors. The team includes: Ryan Crum, a Big Data and Algorithm specialist, who is also the developer of Resounder, the best selling iPhone soundboard app; Phillip Calvin, an iPhone and iPad developer and user experience expert who’s been known to spend hours at the local shopping mall, asking shoppers to try an app and then furiously writing code in the food court to fix the issues that caused the hesitation or confusing in testing; and Matthew Maravillas, a ‘polyglot’ programmer with multiple languages who finds tough algorithmic problems “irresistible”. The team develops in iOS (Objective-C), Android (Java), Ruby, Rails, Python, CSS, Grails, C, C++, Hadoop, MySQL / NoSQL, PostgrSQL, Lucene, Oracle, JavaScript, HTML5, Erlang, Linux, Cucumber and more.  At NewsiT Kevin and team are laser-focused on meeting consumer demands and business imperatives with elegant, speedy, functional and intuitive solutions for consumers and content partners.


    "I’m honored and delighted to join NewsiT in the quest to transform the way people consume - and make - the news.  The NewsiT vision is brilliantly audacious and demands a unique, scalable technology platform.  I’m looking forward to working with Melinda and her talented team to develop the platform and bring to life the company’s bold production vision." - Kevin Survance

    Time also to introduce you to Matt Prohaska, a 20-year media veteran and leading expert in digital advertising, social media and technology. Matt is our guru of all things revenue, and good thing too because he has sold or managed teams that have sold a total $2.5 billion in online and mobile advertising in the past 13 years. 

    His career spans Sesame Workshop, Hulu, NBC, CNET and AOL, where he lead a 160-person sales team in account management and handled $1 billion in sales revenue. The AOL sales team was awarded the #1 rating for quality sales by more than 200 agency and advertising executives in 2009. Matt was also SVP, Media and Data Solutions for [x+1], a leading digital marketing firm specializing in audience targeting, analytics and website optimization. Matt has managed six different regional and national sales teams, consulted for more than 30 companies and founded four others. At NewsiT Matt focuses on identifying revenue opportunities, crafting ‘win-win’ collaborative relationships with content and other partners, and identifying key sponsors and advertising networks.

    Now meet Michael Harper, a talented iPhone, iPad, Android and Ruby on Rails developer whose career spans Apple, Symantec and Taligent, Sun Microsystems, AT&T Wireless and Stanford University. Michael’s iPhone apps range from the polling app Show of Hands, the Norton Online backup app, and a portal app for Regence Healthcare, to Circle 8, an app that helps tourist navigate Sunriver, OR and its 33 miles of bike paths, and Live like a Local for tourists in DC.

    And Olga Howard, the user experience maven behind PBS Kids, AARP and MTV among others. Olga has created an intuitive and innovative user experience for NewsiT. Also Joel Springer,the talented designer behind Cadillac, MapQuest, RedCode Technology, White Hat Capital and many others,is on board for app and web design.

    Michael Harper

  5. The Countdown Has Begun

    We are very excited to tell you that our new, improved iPhone app is very close to being released. Now you can see your own content and that of your friends posted in real time on ‘Trending’ - and you can more easily share via Twitter and Facebook. Expect multiple releases over the summer as we implement some exciting changes to the design and architecture of the app to make it more intuitive, fun and easy to use.

    Keep an eye here and on our Facebook page for updates and the pending announcement.

  6. A Message From Melinda

    Keen to share our progress!
    The new iPhone release is just days away now - improved workflows, display of contributor ‘raw’ content, design tweaks, and integration with Facebook and Twitter. We can hardly wait to share it with you - and get your feedback as we iterate and improve our web and mobile user experience ahead over the summer.

    Here are some of the things you will see in the coming weeks and months:

    • Enhanced social functionality will include the ability to follow and friends within the NewsiT community, the beginnings of user collaboration around story threads and contributions
    • Story threads will combine ‘assignments’ and ‘latest news’ - we are building feedback loops in which you can find relevant information to you as well as people and sources you can trust around information that is important and relevant to you
    • Reorganization of the site and app around specific topics or ‘communities of interest’
    • Enhanced UI around game layer
    • And more!

    We hope to work to a tight two-week iteration and delivery schedule so you will start seeing changes and improvements. Keep letting us know how we are doing!

    NewsiT was founded by CEO Melinda Wittstock. Melinda is an award-winning journalist, serial entrepreneur and an evangelist on all things socially-networked and ‘gamified’. She is passionate about improving the quality and relevance of news and information, and has learned in her long journalistic career that there is more expertise outside the newsroom than in it.

  7. A Sneak Peek at NewsiT’s iPhone Release

    Your Crowd; Your Story

    The NewsiT team has been hard at work improving the design and user experience on the iPhone app for release later this month. We’re excited to share our progress and unveil the beginnings of our new look. We’re planning two Apple releases: the first with some much needed fixes and updates, the next with full social functionality. Tell us what you think of the new design direction!

  8. If you have a dog in the big city you’ve probably tried to bring your four-legged friend on shopping errands. You may have been chased out – or plied with dog treats and shown the water bowl. Now it’s time to help NewsiT with our latest story. Share your photos, video and experiences at different retailers across town. It’s easy, fun and you can win some special dog treats!

    If you have a dog in the big city you’ve probably tried to bring your four-legged friend on shopping errands. You may have been chased out – or plied with dog treats and shown the water bowl.

    Now it’s time to help NewsiT with our latest story. Share your photos, video and experiences at different retailers across town. It’s easy, fun and you can win some special dog treats!

  9. App Wrap Focuses on NewsiT

    NY1 highlights the coolest and newest apps for your cell phone or mobile device in their twice weekly video segment App Wrap. This time around they focus on NewsiT.

    Click the image below to jump to their page and see the video.

  10. Melinda Wittstock, Founder and CEO of NewsiT talks with Tech Cocktail at South by Southwest (SXSW) 2012.