I don’t mean to start this blog off on a morbid tone, but I just discovered a website, newspaperdeathwatch.com, that is devoted to reporting when Newspapers announce that they are discontinuing the printing of “hard copy” papers and going to a strictly online-only version. A soft of “online graveyard” of newspapers. Kinda sad, but in 2017, newspapers, and news in general, are definitely at a crossroads.
The Rocky Mountain News was one of the first papers to go all-in on “online only” and that was nearly 8 years ago. Since then, lots of other newspapers have seen their demise. These companies are placing high importance on their bottom lines and deciding to evolve their entire business.
If you ever think that your newspaper of choice will soon one day make this decision, then it’s time you evolve your own way of thinking and start learning how to read your newspaper digitally. Here are some pointers that I have learned to help you with what is known as “E-Reading”.
- Do it from a Tablet – Save your eyes. Even though newspapers can be read from any smartphone, get yourself a tablet. The screens are bigger, the text will be larger. Now, when it comes to using a tablet for reading, Apple iPad and Android Tablets can do the job and do it very well. Amazon Kindles are also very good. If you like to read outside by the pool, consider the Amazon Paperwhite. It’s matte screen finish allows you to read in direct sunlight much easier than tablets (whose screens are usually glass and makes it more reflective and harder to see when there is lots of sunshine)
- Know the difference between an “E-Reader” and a Tablet. – A tablet is an e-reader, but an e-reader is not a tablet. What do I mean when I say this? Tablets like iPads, the Samsung Galaxy, the Kindle Fire give you the ability to read newspapers, magazines, and books, but, of course, tablets can do much more. E-mail, Games, Photography, and Web Browsing are just a few of the many things they can do. E-Readers are usually good for that and just that – reading. You won’t find many other functions on these devices. One benefit of E-Readers is that they are usually very inexpensive considering they really have a single purpose. In addition, like I mentioned in #1, their screens are usually made of a different material than true tablets, so reading in high sunlight areas is not a problem, unlike tablets which are hard to see in sunlight.
- Download your Newspaper’s Official App – before tablets and smartphones, we would always go to our newspaper’s website. You know – nytimes.com. This can still be done, but for optimal performance, most newspapers have an official app in the App Store or Google Play store that should be downloaded. Most of these apps are free to download. However, because these companies want to make money, you sometimes are allowed to read the first few paragraphs of a story or two, but for full access, you’ll be asked to pay for a Premium Membership. This would be the equivalent of having the newspaper delivered to your doorstep. This is how these newspapers are keeping their revenue- selling premium memberships of their Electronic Editions. Consider doing this for the newspapers that you already get delivered (even before their dying day). Sometimes, the Electronic Membership is cheaper than a hard copy delivered to your door since printing and delivery costs are non-existent with digital.
- Flipboard – I’ve talked about this app in our Tech Forums before (and will again), but I use this app everyday. Flipboard gathers news and stories from around the web from your favorite sources and pulls them together in one place. The best part is that when it pulls this info together, it presents it in a newspaper like format that gives you the feel of a newspaper or magazine (see image below).By the way, you can even view this Tidelines Blog in Flipboard. Contact me if you’re interested.
- Consider Twitter for retrieving your news – I’ve always thought of Facebook for family and friends and Twitter for celebrities and organizations. Just as music evolved from records and LPs to cassettes to Compact Discs and now completely digital, even how we get our news is changing. With newspapers and websites, there’s still someone who is in charge of organizing the content and layout. With Twitter, many reporters and anchors have their own Twitter accounts. When news breaks, they tweet it and then usually the company themselves “Re-Tweet” that tweet. The local news companies like Live 5, Channel 2, and ABC News 4 are good examples of this. If you look at their Twitter accounts, a lot of their content is just a collection of their reporter’s tweets. Most newspapers have their own twitter accounts that they can post news on throughout the day, rather than having to wait until the next day for it to go to print. In today’s fast moving world, if a news company isn’t quick with their reporting, people will usually flock to the companies who can report it quicker. Of course, because news breaks very fast, that contributes to a lot of inaccurate reporting as people race to be the first one to tweet breaking news.
Come see us down at the shop if you have any questions.