Listeners control the news with new app from ABC

Spoke launched in Canberra and Albury-Wodonga

ABC Innovation has launched the final Spoke mobile app pilot, which allows users to customise their news from a variety of sources, including topic and location, creating a news experience unique to users.

The smartphone app is being piloted in Canberra and Albury-Wodonga with local news and information feeds included in the Spoke mix.

The Spoke app combines news and information from local city councils, event organisers, sports club community groups and other media organisations with ABC online, broadcast and local radio content for an all-encompassing news service. Users can tailor Spoke to their own interests, selecting from topics that include business, sport, art, entertainment, health, lifestyle, tech and more. The app has been designed to learn from your preferences to create a news mix that delivers the content you want from the locations you are most interested in.

Director of ABC Innovation, Angela Clark, said: “Spoke has been developed from the insights given to us by Australians in towns and cities across the country. People told us that they want local news but they don’t want it separated from national and international stories.  Instead they want a news feed that understands who they are and their preferences.”

Previous Spoke pilots have been run in Newcastle, Launceston, Mt Gambier and Townsville areas. Feedback from residents was used to shape the user experience for this new Spoke app, including a feature that allows users to aggregate news from multiple locations.

“Our initial trials showed that people in cities like Launceston, Newcastle and Mount Gambier were struggling to find the right mix of relevant news in an easy-to-use mobile format,” Clark said. “By combining news and information from a variety of sources, we are testing whether collaboration is a better approach to the problem of local news. We have also been surprised by the extent to which some people would like to customise their news feed, for example, by increasing the importance of their interests in the mix. The challenge will be learning how to make sure people don’t miss big breaking news stories.”

Canberra and Albury-Wodonga residents are invited to trial Spoke by downloading the free app from Data and insights collected from Spoke are being shared with pilot participants and used to improve the ABC’s digital products.