I stopped buying newspapers five years ago.
That statement will cause me to lose credibility with several people I know and love, but so be it. I just don’t like newspapers. They are dinosaurs. And they smell bad. Don’t get me wrong – I’m glad newspapers exist and I am glad there are people to write them and to read them, I just don’t want to be one of them. I’ll get my news from somewhere else, thankyouverymuch.
Apparently, this attitude makes me what they call a “culture vulture” – one who scavenges for whatever is freely available on the side of the road. Until recently, in terms of current events, 90% of my my cultural roadkill came from whatever filtered through Google News’ top stories, Gawker, HuffPo, or whatever I could read over someone’s shoulder on the subway. Like this guy.
Sure, I follow stories that catch my interest. I listen to NPR and watch an hour of news a day, if not more. I can hold my own in a basic current event conversation, but I usually shy away from holding much of an opinion on subjects I have not taken the time to research (read: everything that is not on Bravo after 9pm).
BUT THEN! About two months ago, the quality of my informational intake tripled when I encountered theSkimm. It’s a tiny thing but it’s made an enormous difference. This is how their website describes their service:
theSkimm is the daily newsletter that simplifies the headlines for the educated professional who knows enough to know she needs more. We do the reading for you and explain it with fresh editorial content, breaking down what you need to know to start the conversation.
What it ought to say is, We read newspapers so you don’t have to.
TheSkimm comes to my inbox every morning, nice and neat, never takes more than five minutes to read. Not only has theSkimm saved me time, it has improved my understanding of current events that I might otherwise skip for lack of background knowledge. I’m sure some of you will read it and write it off as overly simplistic, and I get that, but don’t write it off as simple. The ability to consolidate complex and confusing information into concise, easily understandable statements that leave the reader wanting more is an art (and one that you will rarely find on display in The New York Times, I might add).
In the last two months, theSkimm has made me a better consumer and a more aware, well-rounded member of society. I’m not saying it should replace print media, I’m saying it’s awesome for people like me who want the crux of the story without all the filler. TheSkimm gives me the essentials then leaves me to do my own homework (or not).
Ask me why sh*t keeps hitting the fan in Egypt – I got it.
How’d a handful of JPMorgan traders in London fuck up our whole economy (and why it’s sorta Bill Clinton’s fault) – Let’s talk.
Why is the justice department getting tiffy over the merger between American and US Airways – Well, let me tell you!
Or better yet, sign up for theSkimm and let them tell you.
Dude, it’s free. You’ll like it. Here is a sample of today’s theSkimm.
PS: Speaking of complex information, who needs a primer on WWII? Oh yeah, everyone.
(I know you covered this in high school but this one is on facebook and involved emoticons. Exciting!)