Amazon’s Next Play May Be A Ring Doorbell Powered Crime News Service

Amazon is currently the largest e-commerce marketplace and cloud platform in the world. You can purchase everything from groceries to movie downloads through Amazon. The global corporation is now looking to dip their toe in the news industry. A recent job listing revealed that Amazon is looking for a crime news managing editor to work alongside their Ring team.

Amazon's “Managing Editor” would work within Ring, a home security company to “manage a team of news editors who deliver breaking crime news alerts to our neighbors”. The Editor is expected to have experience in and a passion for journalism, be a good storyteller, and be able to manage tight timelines. Amazon is also looking for someone who is dynamic, flexible, and has a “go-the-extra-mile attitude”.

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Ring Video Doorbell

The position reveals very little about the actual news media outlet. The listing hints that the editor will utilize “social media channels to gather breaking news”. Will the Managing Editor piece together news from the social media sites of local news networks? Will the Editor need to rely on the shaky and fuzzy videos or emotional status updates posted by casual bystanders? Will there be a specific app that the Editor uses to find breaking news? Will the way Amazon collects news information be affected by the integrity of their sources?

It is also unclear how Amazon plans on distributing this information. Will Amazon create their own news app? Will readers or viewers need to own a Ring security system to access the news stories?

Interestingly, Ring already boasts its own security app “Neighbors”. Neighbors is essentially a neighborhood watch app and it can be downloaded for free by anyone. Users and local law enforcement can post updates about both criminal and suspicious activity through the app. The app has been installed over 1 million times and has garnered mostly positive reviews. Amazon may possibly choose to either gather or distribute news stories through the Neighbors app.

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Ring also already has a “RingTV Home” tab on its website. The page features both scary and entertaining videos that have been gathered from Ring product recordings. Could Amazon choose to expand this existing page?

Many have also expressed concerns about potential privacy violations. Most Ring security products record video of a user’s property. Ring has also already given a research and development team complete access to every Ring video recording. Could Amazon potentially turn to these records for news? Even if Amazon sticks to social media apps, how much will they protect the privacy of their sources? 

It is also unclear whether or not users want another crime reporting news outlet. A recent Pew Research Center survey revealed that most Americans believed that local weather was the most important news topic. Although many Americans also thought that crime was an essential issue, they tended to tune in more for updates about traffic and sports. This trend was even noticeable in the reviews for the Neighbors app. One reviewer noted that she used the app not to keep up with criminal activity, but to to stay in contact with her neighbors during weather emergencies.

It remains to be seen how the Amazon crime news outlet will take shape. At the moment, their main concern appears to be building a strong, flexible team. Amazon is entering a competitive, and arguably dying, field. They will need all the support they can get if the want their outlet to be successful.
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