Ah! This has much to do with the branch Erik and Max a few others here had around the concept of bricolage on the web, inspired by Erik's gist on Singing in the Rain and Diablo 3. (Seriously.)
This new branch uses the lens of fostering endearment and ownership, while we used the lens of artificiality versus authenticity. Both, though, share the common ground of giving a user a way to affect the outcome of digital products through participation with or in them.
I wonder what lessons news consumption can draw from thinking about product design this way, given that it's not really possible to "participate" in a news product? Or is it?