As a media fanatic, and an aspiring journalist myself, I’m constantly trying to figure out and help understand how newspapers and journalism can coexist with the Web.
The Internet – what it means and the changes it brings – could mean great things for newspapers, and in fact already does mean great things. Readership of newspapers is in many cases higher than ever before, but most have not figured out how to monetize that Web news-reading experience.
One key, one thing that’s going to make the whole newspaper migration to the Internet a lot faster and easier, is ways of reading the news that better simulate the newspaper reading experience. At the forefront of this, right now, is the New York Times.
The Times has released two relatively excellent ways of reading the paper. One’s for subscribers only, and one’s for everyone. Without further ado:
This one, as best I can tell, is only for those who subscribe to the Times. Even if you don’t want to read the paper, this application alone might be worth the price of a subscription. When you close the application, it can live in your system tray, always keeping your news up-to-date.
The Times Reader downloads to your desktop, where it synchronizes the news for you. Everything is downloaded, so you can read your news offline. The interface is easy to navigate, and looks and feels much more like a newspaper- headlines, multi-page articles, and the like. Its look changes depending on how big the window is, so it’s always optimized for your screen.
You can save, print, email or write notes about any given article (can’t do that with a newspaper). You can also change the text size, see pictures, and generally make your reading easier. If you’re a subscriber, or debating it, you’ll love the Times Reader.
The Times is doing its best to try and make skimming the headlines and the paper easier for the online readership. The new Article Skimmer app looks and feels a lot like the Times Reader, letting you easily skim the headlines and leads for all the various sections of the paper.
Reading the articles you’ll pull out of the Article Skimmer requires you to sign up for a New York Times account- a minor, one-time irritation, but it’s free and worth doing. A click on an article takes you to a new page – not as simple as the Times Reader, but still easier to use than the NYT website.
As more and more people get their news from the Web, newspaper corporations are re-evaluating what reading on the Web looks like. The Times is way out in front, and I can’t wait for others to catch up.
How do you read your news? What do you wish would change?