The goal of "News at Seven" is to replace the traditional TV news broadcast with something automatic and personalized – and, presumably, cheap, what with all those pesky "talent" salaries eliminated. We watched their sample video, which is here – it opens with an image of an attractive, tough-looking young woman in front of the equivalent of a blue screen. "Hi, my name is Alex Vance," says the, um, woman in an off-putting, mechanical voice. "I'm taking a break from fighting zombies to bring you the national news update." She later shoots a zombie in the middle of a story about NASA. Apparently, this particular newscast was personalized for Lara Croft fans.
The other feature is akin to the "freeSpeech" segment on the Evening News, only it features a blogger with opinions relevant to a particular news story. There is no human being vetting the bloggers opinions, which raises questions about their quality – although human involvement, as we've seen recently, certainly doesn't guarantee that people won't be unhappy about opinions presented on a newscast.
"News at Seven" is still in an embryonic state, and it has a long way to go before it can be seen as a "viable replacement to the typical televised news show," as its creators hope. But the idea of personalization is a powerful one, and there are those who argue that the age of mass appeal newscasts has come and gone. Why, they wonder, would a video game-obsessive watch Katie, Charlie or Brian when he could get his news from Alex Vance? At least she'll shoot the occasional zombie.