The Newspaper is Dead

I don't write about tech stuff often (ever), though I read about it a lot. For that reason I considered submitting the following post elsewhere, but then I realized my opinion is not revered enough, nor are my thoughts innovative enough to warrant much for readership. And with that wonderful disclaimer, have yourself a treat:

The newspaper dead. I know you know this because you've read about it. Probably online. But I don't just mean the tree-destroying paper-pile we all loved as children because the print stuck so clearly to Silly Putty. I'm not talking just about that. I mean the news as we know it is dead. And here's how I know. I subscribed to The Daily for a week. The Daily is awesome, but at the end of the day it's nothing more than a reminder of a broken system.

The problem with the news is all the articles I don't care to read. And more than that, just about any writer worth reading is writing for their own website these days. I get my significant tech news from Techmeme, or Hacker News. And I listen to the NPR broadcast in the morning because it's under five minutes and keeps me tuned in to the world outside of tech.

But my RSS feed brings me Grubes, Shawn Blanc, a few theology writers, a poetry blog I read (and write for), and one or two friends of mine who happen to be excellent writers. I also have a feed from a Diigo account a friend of mine posts interesting articles to. And I read my RSS feeds ravenously every morning, several times throughout the day, and right before bed.

Reeder is the best publication I've ever known. Because it's 100% tailored to me, and because for (what is for me) the first time in RSS history, it is as beautiful as a regular publication; not to mention much much cleaner.

And Reeder isn't the only app. My wife doesn't know what RSS is, but with 15 minutes of my setting up a Google Reader account, and linking it to her Flipboard, she has never looked back. My wife adores Flipboard, and I'm sure she isn't alone. She subscribes to 0 paper magazines. To her credit she does occasionally buy some used magazines off some friends, but thats just so she can give our daughters something to cut up and glue when they're playing. She used to still need a few around for decorating inspiration, but Pinterest filled that final need. You could almost say it was the final pin in the coffin (publications may be dying, but cheese is still going strong).

But back to The Daily for a moment. This was the shining last hope for the news industry old guard. And it really is very very good — good looking, well written etc...  But no one who has an opinion I actually care about writes for them. Maybe I could grow attached to a writer or two over time but what is the point of trying? We have become loyal to people, and no longer loyal to publications. It's a strange shift, but very real.

Also, did I mention The Daily takes forever to download unless you're on a great network connection? Reeder takes about 15 seconds even when connectivity is slow.

The news industry is out. News is here to stay. The writers will stay, their publishers are simply no longer needed.

The news is out because:
1) There is too much fluff in the old news we don't care about and it's no longer necessarily bundled with the parts we do.
2) We've switched our loyalty from publications to individual writers. Tailored news includes writing from many different sources, including our friends.
3) RSS is a strange acronym, but things like Flipboard have made an understanding of it unnecessary. And apps like Reeder challenge 'big news' in beauty and usability.
4) RSS is fast. 
RSS has been around for a long time and people have been predicting it's takeover of the old news for a long time. It's actually happening now, and we're just now figuring out how to make the details invisible to the folks doing the reading. And it's brilliant.