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New CNN Trends tool gives broad look at top news stories

Doug Gross, CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • CNN Trends lets users follow hottest stories on the Web in real time
  • Dashboard shows top trending stories, with content on and off CNN's site
  • Tool's algorithm is power by CNN-owned Zite

(CNN) -- CNN's Web and mobile users can use a new tool to follow the day's top stories as they're developing, even when that means going to other news sources for a broader perspective.

CNN Trends, rolled out on CNN.com Thursday, is a news-discovery dashboard designed to identify stories that are spurring the most conversation and interaction across the Web. Each entry is anchored by a CNN story on the topic, which is then paired with posts from up to 10 other sources about that same topic.

It's a counterintuitive approach on the Web, where the traditional model for success involves drawing readers in then trying to keep them on a website for as long as possible. But the creators of CNN Trends say the tool mirrors the way many Web users already consume news and, in the end, should build loyalty among readers looking for a reliable place to find the stories they want.

Readers "want to know a broader perspective of the story than any single source can give you," said Mark Johnson, CEO of Zite, the CNN-owned Web magazine app. "If there's a new story coming out, they'll look at a trusted source like CNN, but then they'll go to other places too to see what other people are saying ... .

Zite CEO Mark Johnson on new CNN Trends

"We believe that, even sometimes when a user goes off to a different news website, they're going to come back to us because they know that, on CNN Trends, they're going to get that complete, broad view of the story."

CNN acquired Zite, best known for its multi-platform news reading app, in August of last year. CNN Trends marks the first product integration between the app CNN, with Zite's algorithm used to select the news stories and other posts that appear.

Users may also narrow down their story list by selecting topics like Health, Politics, Tech and Travel.

Thursday afternoon, Newsweek's announcement that it would cease its print publication was the top item on CNN Trends. Paired with a CNN Money article were items including stories from the BBC and NPR, analysis from media-oriented site Poynter Online and takes by tech blogs The Next Web and Mashable.

"A healthy media diet consists of news, analysis and perspectives from more than one source," said KC Estenson, senior vice president of CNN Digital. "CNN Trends embraces that concept and expands on it by allowing the social Web to determine which stories are featured. It's the perfect place to discover new content and advance the narrative of a trending headline."

CNN Trends can be accessed on the navigation bar at the top of CNN.com's main page.

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