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Journos often complain that online news websites don’t provide the same surprise factor as their print counterparts. Well no longer! The Guardian and The New York Times have both developed Stumbleupon-like apps that randomly brings up an article published within the last 24 hours. Serendipity, indeed; it’s almost as fun as clicking on Wikipedia’s “Random article” link, though not quite as addicting as looking through the 50 most interesting articles on Wikipedia.

Rupert Murdoch, of course, is heading in the opposite direction. I know some are hoping the random approach will win out, but if Murdoch’s paywall is a desperate gambit for money, then newsroulette is a band-aid gimmick to increase page views and keep users engaged. Fitting that the idea came from a joking remark.

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About the author

Rodney Barnes was the Blog Editor for the Spring 2010 issue of the Ryerson Review of Journalism.

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