The much anticipated news site Daylife has launched — there has been much critique and analysis, which I won’t repeat — most of it has focused on Daylife’s functionality (including a harsh critique from investor Mike Arrington). Instead, I’m going to take a look at the content. Here are the top 10 stories:

  1. Dems Take Charge On Capitol Hill
    1. Croc Hunter Death Video Given To Widow
    2. Mystery Object Hits New Jersey Home
    3. ‘Subway Superman’ in His Own Words
    4. Somali militia group ‘surrounded’
    5. Controversial Treatment Keeps Disabled Child Small
    6. Rumours of new Thai coup denied
    7. Gerald Ford Laid To Rest
    8. Ford’s body is laid to rest in hometown
    9. Saddam Execution Video Leads to Arrests

I could make the case that stories 3, 4, and 5 aren’t nearly as important as, say, story 10, at least from a global news perspective (unless the NJ meteorite carries evidence of extraterrestrial life). That of course would beg the question — “important” by what measure? And that’s exactly what Daylife seems to be lacking in its beta version. There’s no context to understand the relative importance of these stories, no commentary to put them in perspective.

That’s one of the strengths of Gabe Rivera’s TechMeme (and his other memetrackers) — the number of other sites linking to a particular story helps explain the relative rankings and also offers immediate references for discussion and perspective (which was very helpful in learning about the launch of Daylife). Daylife segregates “news articles” from “blog posts,” a distinction that TechMeme has helped to render largely meaningless.

The bottom line is that TechMeme has given me reason to trust its news judgment — I have also gotten to know and trust many of the writers whose judgment (via linking) drives TechMeme. I see little reason out of the box to trust Daylife’s news judgment, which is partly a function of not understanding it.

Given that this is just a beta release, I won’t read much more into it, other than to agree with Liz Gannes and Heather Green that it’s not obvious how the beta maps to Daylife’s ideal and objectives. I also appreciated this wisdom from Rex Hammock:

When something announced takes over a year to launch and is so slick in appearance, it invites itself to be judged by what it lacks — moreso than by what it has.

Daylife is an instructive reminder of how important news judgment is — and how hard it is to earn trust — in the battle over information filtering online.