I don't think newspapers will survive the iPad generation

I'm the kind of guy who likes to go out for breakfast on the weekend, buy a newspaper, and flip through it over a cup of coffee. So, in a recent attempt to justify the existence of my tablet, I decided to sign up to a free 3 month trial of an online newspaper.

In theory this was only going to make my news consumption experience more pleasurable and practical. Because there are three things that I really, really hate about reading a newspaper:

  1. The actual size of the damn thing. I quite often find the table I am sitting at can only hold half the newspaper.
  2. Throwing away such a large amount of paper when I am done.
  3. Not being able to quickly scan the headlines.
Reading an electronic copy solves all three issues. And yet, after trying the subscription for a few months, I realised that not only will I not sign up, but that I probably won't be reading the print version either.

The first problem is that so little of the content of a newspaper actually interests me. Sure, different newspapers cater to different audiences, but I find that I really don't fall into the categories that the different newspapers seem to target.

As I see it, newspapers tend to break down their articles into local vs global, gossip vs "objective" (I use quotes here, because nothing it truly objective), politics vs people, and sport.

The truth is that almost none of the news being reported on by any major newspaper relates to me, and as I scanned over the headlines so neatly summarised in the online version of the newspaper, it dawned on me how little any of it actually interests me. As it turns out, the only reason why I was reading any of the articles in the print version of the newspaper was because it was so damn difficult to flip and scan through such an unwieldy collection of paper.

It was at that point that I gave up on traditional newspapers, and began curating a collection of RSS feeds from web sites that contained news that I was interested in. And with the aid of a few innovative feed readers like Feedly or Pulse I had managed to create something that apparently alludes the major newspaper publishers: a relevant, interesting news feed delivered to whatever device I have on me, or am sitting in front of, at the time.

Newspapers are a relic from a time when there was some prestige associated with being up to date with the big events. Today's generation are far more comfortable scanning through the email titles that fill their inbox or skimming over a Facebook feed looking for items that actually interest them.

Traditional newspapers are just one really good news aggregation app away from being completely irrelevant. 


Pierrick584 said…
You forgot to add the fact the paper is disgusting, leaves your hands all dirty after touching this.
Anonymous said…
Completely agree that customized RSS feeds seem the way to go. You can have a lot of fun with this by using customized keywords with Google and creating an RSS feed out ofthose keywords. For instance, "Apple New App Reviews" and then using a program such as MobileRSS (My personal favorite RSS Reader). Perhaps this is more for the tech/computer guy.

I also like the idea of being able to watch video within articles that a hard copy Newspaper will never be able to incorporate. I do check the large News sources such as CNN pretty regularly but when it comes to information in the tech/finance/topic of interest, RSS feeds are certainly the way to go. Great post!
Anonymous said…
Yessss.... agreed.

keep in mind your strategy could lead to a limited view of the world.
Only viewing what you want by rss may remove articles that we need to see occasionally.

Have not gone to rss yet but lurk on many sites for a broad overview that newspapers used to deliver once upon a time. (albeit before rss).

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