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On reading (or not reading) newspapers

December 24th, 2009 · Posted by Skuds in Technology · No Comments · Technology

Another passage from the book Viral Loop, which rang some bells with me:

Contrast this glitzy postmillennial lifestyle with the the premillennial, time-consuming trek your local newspaper makes each day.  It owes its analog existance to trees that are chopped down, trucked to a mill where they are mashed into pulp, flattened into paper, and transported to printing presses.  There the huge rolls of paper are sprayed with letters and numbers, photos, crossword puzzles, sudoku, and drawings, cut, stacked, bound, and stuffed into trucks.

These bundles are dropped off at news-stands opr distributed to people whose job entials flinging each copy, one at a time, house to house.  Later you step onto your porch, pick up the paper, scan the headlines, and realise everything in it is a day late.  You’ve already skimmed these articles on the web, were fed email links on your PDA or cell phone, or accessed RSS feeds, watched them on CNN, heard them on the radio, or caught a glimpse of them on a news ticker atop a taxi cab.

By the time you read the paper, the news has moved on and so have you.

I imagine the author is well aware of the irony that all this is written in a book that has been through a similar process.

Personally, I gave up reading a national newspaper in about February.  Instead I have several stored searches on Google News for topics of interest.   I added the stored searches’ RSS feeds to Google Reader along with the RSS feeds of parts of the BBC News site and some local papers.  The Guardian’s excellent twitterfeed flashes up with all the main stories from that paper.

It means I miss out on the analysis (but analysis is just another way of saying opinion in most cases) but have time to read other news sources as well now.  If there is anything particularly interesting that I may have missed it is sure to be mentioned in a post on one of the many blogs whose RSS feeds I also monitor on Google Reader with a link if I want to read more.

Not sure how long this can last though, and I hate to admit that Murdoch may have a point.  I can only do this because the newspapers have free-to-view websites and they can only really afford to do that  on the back of advertising revenues from their paper editions which other people buy.  If everybody did what I do then those news sources would dry up.

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