This week, ITV News launched their new website which has been 10 months in the making and, as many have noted, marks a change in the way news site are designed. Made by Many, the company that was tasked with the redesign, did a good post on the process and the next steps, Nieman had their usual sharp analysis on its likeness to certain social networks and Martin Belham’s post on the site’s design and the crossover between navigation and filtering is a good one.

There is lots to be impressed about the new site and the process ITV News have gone through, including putting out a minimum viable product and working to improve it in the public domain. But it strikes me that they’ve missed a trick in the way they’ve tied the curation of the main news stream and the individual story streams very closely to time.

Let me explain. Take the ongoing story about Fabrice Muamba. Click on it on headline on the left hand side and you get a stream of bitesize bits of content, text, video and tweets that summarise what has happened over the two, four, ten hours and longer. It’s visual, easy for users to digest and maps neatly onto their user cases of people wanting the news now.

But it lacks other details. There’s nothing quickly to hand about Marc-Vivien Foe or York City striker David Longhurst, about Phil O’Donnell or Espanyol’s Daniel Jarque, all of whom suffered heart defects on the field. There’s no career stats, goals, appearances or mention of Muamba’s extensive England youth career. These are things I want to know.

Context, colour, sidebars, whatever you want to call it, such details are notable in their absence. And other stories are the same: the Lotto winners story, for example, doesn’t tell you if previous winners quit their jobs as soon as they found out or indeed what they did with their winnings. This is news for those who only have time to read headlines.

The site made me call to mind a video I watched recently in which Maria Popova outlined her concerns for the ‘newsification of content’ and way that curation is becoming increasingly time-sensitive, rather than based on intersections or crossovers in content. Strikingly she said:

This idea that just because something is new and it floats to the top, it’s more relevant somehow or better and it’s not the case

What is Curation? from Percolate on Vimeo.

The power of curation for me (to use Maria’s word) has always been ‘getting people to see connections between things they didn’t necessarily see connections between’ ie the trends, case studies or relevant dates in history that are time consuming to put together but that, when turned into a sidebar on an article, make it come alive.

Less impactful is curation solely by time, where you’re layering parts of a story on top of each other in sequence. That is what it feels like ITV News are doing in their new site, which seems to be a simplistic view of news and an underestimation of their users. However, knowing Made by Many have big plans for improving the site, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is on their to-do list.

New ITV website curates based on time, not on context