A Glorious Digital News Revolution


Next up: Robot News Delivery Systems.

Here are the ways I now get my news:

  • My New York Times iPhone application which I read each morning at breakfast.
  • My NPR News iPhone application which I listen to on my commute to work (On Point, Intelligence Squared, and Fresh Air are my favorites)
  • “My News Channel” Twitter list which contains the real-time tweets from news organizations and bloggers I trust (CNN, The Atlantic, The New York Times, Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Big Think, ThinkProgress, Media Nation, etc.).  I also have groups segmented for sports, books, social media, and my clients.
  • My Facebook Newsfeed where my social graph of colleagues, friends, and family are constantly posting news, information, graphics, and videos about current and cultural events

I no longer subscribe to any newspapers or magazines (and haven’t since midway through 2010).  None of my news consumption comes from printed materials (except for those rare Sundays when I’ll pick up the Boston Sunday Globe – mostly, however, to refresh my dwindling supply of paper to start fires in my fireplace).

If there is a breaking news story, I’ll tune into CNN, which is constantly playing in the common area at work.  I’ll then crawl news sites like the New York Times or CNN from my laptop computer to keep up to date with advances on the story.

Printed news is not only unnecessary, but it’s likely out of date by the time you read it.  Printed news is also limiting.  You can only do one thing with it: Read it (actually you can also burn it in your fireplace).

Digital news has endless possibilities.  It is easy to update.  It can be shared with a few clicks.  I can comment on it.  I can ask questions on social channels and engage in debate with other people who are interested in the news.  Digital news goes beyond text.  I can watch videos and view multiple photographs.  I can listen to it.

But even better – I can interact with it.  Sophisticated news agencies are now creating interactive applications as part of their news delivery.  Software that allows you to try to balance the federal budget.  Interactive maps that allow you to visualize the story from local, regional and national perspectives.  Applications that allow people to have an experiential relationship with the news.

The creative possibilities are endless.

This is how I want my news now:

  • Customized to my interests
  • Interactive so I can manipulate the information so it makes sense to me
  • Multimedia so I can experience it in different formats and on different devices
  • Sharable so that I can spread it to my social graph and talk to them about it

I’m cognizant of the challenges as we move to digital news.  News organizations are struggling to find revenue models that work online.  I want them to succeed because I believe that citizens should (and need to) support journalism and innovative news delivery by rewarding it.

We also have to be cautious not to wall ourselves away from points of view that don’t challenge our own belief systems.  Customized news can mean being bombarded with news and information that simply solidifies our positions and doesn’t provoke or confront our views.  Being smart, educated and informed means rethinking our positions and beliefs.  And that means exposing ourselves to various and contrasting viewpoints.

Digital news, however, is here to stay.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

How about you?

Links:

Facebook Has Evolved into a Personalized Newspaper

My I Canceled my Newspaper Subscription

2 Responses to “A Glorious Digital News Revolution”

  1. It is ironic to read how you consume news — as I contemplate spending a month without consuming any of it. (See Matt Cutts’ blog post at http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/no-news-challenge/ where he explained his sabbatical from news gathering.)

    But to directly answer your question, George, I don’t watch news on TV nor read it in newspapers. I rarely visit boston.com or cnn.com etc. I follow @BreakingNews on Twitter and see their updates now and then. But I generally live through social proof; if something is important for me to know, my social networks will talk about it. Most news is fleeting, anyway.

  2. Hi Ari:
    Interesting post by Matt. News, however, is not only one of my passions, but part of my job. So giving it up for 30 days would be difficult.

    Describing news as “fleeting” is only if you think of news as individual bits of constantly changing data. If you look at news from a broader perspective its a way of putting the world around you into context. It’s a mechanism for discovering new ideas, new truths, and new realities.

    Great issue to explore in more depth.

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