Let’s face it. Newspapers in their current, printed form aren’t long for this planet. I’m talking about the mainstream, pay-per-issue kind. I think the free versions, such as LA Weekly here in Los Angeles and similar papers around the country, might be able to hold on. But those papers we grew up with, me the L.A. Times, won’t be there in a few years.
Why? Because the only people buying them are people over fifty-five, and even they aren’t buying them as much. Okay, there are probably some people under fifty-five purchasing a paper, but the statistics are pretty clear that the majority of customers are in the older bracket. This is the pre-computer on every lap generation. They grew up with papers, and they continue to read them. My parents, for instance, have a subscription to their local paper, and I have to tell you, each time I visit, that daily paper is thinner and thinner. Sure, my generation was mostly pre-computer on every lap also, but we were enough on the cusp that most of us have taken pretty readily to the digital age. I should say my parents have taken to the digital age, too, as have many of their friends. They email, surf the web, and play games on their laptops, but even though they do, they still like their paper.
We all know the papers are going away because of this switch to a computer driven society. Information is now at our fingertips. If we want to know something, we just check our laptops or smart phones or netbooks or iPads.
Sure, a lot of the traditional newspapers have websites now, and that might be how they figure out to stay relevant. There are also other news sites: CNN, Yahoo, BBC World just to name a few. These are all great, but for me, the opportunity is there for something more personal. Thankfully, the Interwebs have created ways for me to satisfy what I’m looking for.
In effect, I have my very own newspaper that I check everyday. The Brett Times, I guess, or the Brett Herald-Examiner. (I actually haven’t given it a name, but maybe I should think about it.) I’ll bet that most of you have one, too, these days.
What I’m talking about is using an RSS feed reader. Basically this is a web-based tool that gathers the latest posts from all the blogs I’m interested in reading, and presents them to me whenever I want. There are many of these readers out there. I use Google Reader. Though I’m sure there are better ones, I’m just too lazy to check around.
What is great about this new newspaper, and what makes it so much better than any of the printed papers I used to read growing up, is that it’s completely tailored to my tastes. I chose the blogs I want, I divide them into sections, and voila, the Brett Times.
I have a sports section completely focused on sports I’m interested in and my specific team (Go Angels!). I have a publishing section which includes Sarah Weinman’s blog, Ali Karim’s blog, some book marketing blogs, etc. I have a writing section which includes an interesting one I’ve heard of called Murderati. I have a Pop Culture section that has a wide breath of material from gossip, to film reviews, to humor, to Sci-Fi related things. I also have a Los Angles section where I get feeds from several Los Angeles based blogs. This last one’s great for not just my local news, but also for letting me know when there are shows and festivals around that I might want to attend.
The thing is, though the traditional newspaper might be on the way out, an even more personal, and (in my mind) useful digital paper has taken its place.
Okay, I’m not going to getting to the quality of reporting and that whole argument. Yes, I know there are some problems there that need to be figured out. But for the stuff I’m interested in, the info I’m getting is fine. And if I need more, I can go to the more traditionally based blogs.
So I thought I’d share a few links to some of the blogs I follow and enjoy, in case you wanted to follow them, too):
From my Apple Section (yeah, I’m one of those):
From my Baseball Section:
From my Inspire Section:
From my Los Angeles Section:
From my Music Section:
And, finally, several from my Pop Culture Section:
That’s just a sampling. I actually follow more than fifty blogs this way. It might even be close to one hundred.
So, computer literate people (which you all are), what are some of the blog that are part of (or would be part of) your personal newspaper?