Updated: Washington Post iPad app curates hot topics, encourages social media discussion

As I noted this morning, The Washington Post’s new iPad app aggregates content from other news sources and encourages users to share and discuss stories via social media. Both features have been notably absent from many previous media apps.

Meanwhile, apps like Flipboard are going in the other direction, creating a packaged experience based partly on users’ social streams.

The Post app features a section called “Live Topics,” which highlights stories that are generating interest and conversation online. Each of the topic pages features a selection of stories from sources around the Web, including CNN, Forbes, the Associated Press and others. In addition, each “Live Topic” page integrates Twitter and Facebook, bringing that conversation into the app and enabling readers to participate in the discussion.

Washington Post Managing Editor Raju Narisetti answered some questions via e-mail about the Post’s approach to this feature.

Damon Kiesow: How are the “Live Topics” being selected?

Raju Narisetti: Our dedicated mobile editing team will select the top 3-5 issues of the day for Live Topics. 
 
How often will those topics be updated?

Narisetti:
Our Live Topics will be updated throughout the day and will change as needed, depending on the news cycle.
 
Are there internal guidelines about which sources to aggregate? Would you link to local competitors, for instance?

Narisetti:
Our Live Topics can feature selected headlines from across the Web. Yes, we would link to local competitors if it was relevant to our readers.
 
Do you have any plans to expand the Twitter/Facebook integrations to other stories within the app?

Narisetti:
We don’t have any immediate plans, but we look forward to hearing from readers and will improve our product as needed to provide the best experience possible.

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