Since June, the New York Times is experimenting with a personalized newsletter called “Your Weekly Edition”.
Every Friday, readers can receive a selection of stories that’s curated for the first time by both editors & algorithms. After receiving mixed results with its personalized products in the past, the Times is trying to find the sweet spot by surfacing content you may like without shrinking your perspective.
In detail, editors select the best recent stories from the Times and put them in four buckets (Best of The Times, News you might have missed, Opinion, Discover). Then, machine learning algorithms will compare your reading history with the ones of readers with similar interests and pick the stories most relevant to you and your pairs — which should let room for content outside of your personal echo chamber. The newsletter will finally display only the stories which you theoretically haven’t read yet.
The whole thing is a work in progress and it’s too early to say it’s a success according to Times executives. But the Times is at least very transparent about the personalization process and calls it a “beta” project. Readers are also encouraged to send feedback. Test it by yourselves if you have an NYT account!