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App Creator: Kyle Fretwell ’13

Ever have a hard time filtering through all the clutter on news sites and Facebook? Struggling to stay up to date? Well, Beep Report has a solution for you! Kyle Fretwell, a Junior at UCSB, started BeepReport.com because he had the same problems. Beep Report filters through news stories for you and posts them directly to your Facebook News Feed. Kyle tells us more about Beep Report…

Her Campus: Can you tell us a little about Beep Report?
Kyle: Beep Report is a great way for college students to stay up to date on current events.  Most college students are too busy to sift through traditional news sites in attempts to find what’s important/interesting. Think of it as a personalized news feed that caters to the user’s specific news interests.
We have 3 goals. First, we filter out the crap you don’t care about, personalizing the news. Second, we fight bias by giving separate sources for the same stories. Third, we put stories into perspective. Beep report also offers a Facebook application that delivers the stories right into your news feed-something we are promoting first and foremost. Similar to what Pandora has done for music, Beep Report does for news. For example, if you are interested in US politics and global events, you would receive those types of stories, not stories on sports or celebrity gossip. The converse may be true as well. If you don’t like a story, you can dislike it, it fades away and a new one takes its place.
 
HC: What made you want to start a site/app like this?
K: I was fed up with not knowing what was going on and when I tried to find out, I discovered there was no site where I could easily stay up to date with current events. For instance, if you Google “Whats going on in Syria” there is a bunch of blogs, and stuff you may not care about or a single story with no context. Also, most news websites are overwhelming and not user friendly. Because of this, we’re trying to make staying up to date as easy as possible.

HC: You mentioned Beep Report would offer different sites for each story to prevent a bias, why is this important to you?
K: I think that there is always going to be a spin to every story so we are providing an easy way to see both sides and allow you to form your own opinion. We can show you how NY Times, Wall Street Journal, and even BBC (to get an international perspective) are reporting on a story. Every story will either slant left or right politically, however, the truth is probably somewhere in between.

HC: What makes Beep Report different than any other news app on Facebook?
K: First off, Beep Report is personalized. Secondly, unlike the other apps, such as the Washington Post social reader, your activity with our site is private. Other people can only hear about what you’re reading if you actively decide to let them know. While it is easy to share a story, you can click on whatever you want with out everyone knowing. For example, I wouldn’t want everyone to know that I am reading about Katy Perry and Russell Brand breaking up, and why would people want to know I’m reading that?

HC: What does your personalized Beep Report look like?
K: I have stories about global events, the economy, US events, and sports.

HC: How did you and your team get together? Are you all Gauchos?
K: Yes, we are all Gauchos. Our team is comprised of 3 programmers, 1 business developer, and myself. I was friends with one of the guys and we later brought on the other three.

HC: Do you plan to make profit from this? If so, how?
K: Absolutely, right now we’re just focusing on the product but at some point down the road advertisements will probably play a role in what were doing. You really have to be careful though and not damage the user experience.
 
HC: Has going to UCSB influenced your project in anyway?
K: Absolutely. Two main things. First, the technology management program – it’s the best kept secret at UCSB. It’s essentially our business school, but instead of focusing on corporations it focuses on startups. Second, is the quality of students here – its relatively easy to go find motivated and intelligent people to work with. We have a huge talent pool.

HC: What else do you do besides Beep Report?
K: I like to going to the beach, snowboard, play basketball, and go hiking.
 
Check out http://beepreport.com/or search for their app on Facebook!

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