The Breaking News Business Gets a Break

Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) iPad couldn't come at a better time. Twitter is helping to break the breaking news business.

MSNBC has acquired the rights to manage the BreakingNews feed on Twitter, Forbes reports. The deal is a coup for Michael van Poppel, a 20-year-old Dutchman who created the feed three years ago and has since used to break many of the world's biggest stories.

We've seen this coming for a while. Twitter has long acted like a wire service in times of tragedy, scooping or even supplanting traditional news sources. Software and social media addicts are increasingly doing work once left to credentialed reporters.

In Steve we trust?
Investors and consumers are counting on Apple's new tablet device, the iPad, to make this less of a problem for New York Times (NYSE: NYT  ) , Gannett (NYSE: GCI  ) , and others.

They don't believe the device's competitors are transformative enough to help. For example, in a recent poll, Fools largely pooh-poohed a joint effort between Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) on a touchscreen tablet that CEO Steve Ballmer demonstrated at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month.

Of all the alternatives to the iPad, only Amazon.com's (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) Kindle gets taken seriously. That's understandable; it's the top dog and first mover. Also, writers and publishers love the Kindle's generous royalty scheme.

Even so, newspapers need a new edition. Between Twitter, Bloomberg, The Associated Press, and News Corp.'s (Nasdaq: NWS  ) Dow Jones, there isn't enough room for newspapers in the real-time news business. There's barely enough room for TV.

All that's left is for the industry to get consumers to pay more for well-researched, in-depth, feature-length reporting. Apple appears ready and willing to help. Let's hope so.

Now it's your turn to weigh in. Would you pay more for read-anywhere, in-depth reporting on an iPad? Or is the format immaterial? Please vote in the poll below. You can also leave a comment to explain your thinking.

Amazon and Apple are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. Microsoft is also a Motley Fool Options recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the market-beating Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team. He had stock and options positions in Apple at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. The Motley Fool is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. The Fool's disclosure policy is a card-carrying member of the Cult of Disclosure.


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