In a recent New York Times article, Mickey Meece describes her news consumption routine: pick up the paper, toss it on the table with intentions to read later, get the news on her iPad instead. She lists out her regular rotation of news sources, which are different than mine and probably different than yours as well. Unlike the days when everyone received the same newspaper and without the myriad additional sources available online, our consumption of printed news is becoming more instant, customizable, and as a result, more segmented.
But this comes at a price. Not only for the newspaper industry feeling the pressure from an ever increasingly digital world, but also for the consumer. Meece points out numerous news aggregating apps for tablets that were created as a way to access all the information a newshound could want, all in one place and exactly how you want it…if you’re willing to work for it. Until the day when apps can read our minds and know what we want, we still have to go through the manual labor of telling the app to build something full of must reads while leaving out the clutter.
Is it worth it to today’s ever-on-the-go consumer though? We could be content to sit back and have the news companies deliver to us, either physically or electronically, the stories their editors deem important enough to print and simply pick and choose which sections we want to take in. Or we could be proactive and use those electronic sources to become our own editors to get precisely the newspaper we want, thus becoming more engaged and empowered readers.
These one stop shops are not only a convenient way to gather all of our favorite news sources and content sections, it should also be a way for advertisers to conveniently target interested consumers. Yet while sampling 5 of the aggregating apps Meece mentions, I was not served a single ad unless I clicked through a headline to read the story on the source website. A lack of ads seems such a waste since I am consciously handing the apps my interests along with my attention. The increasing customization available through these apps will benefit consumers as well as advertisers, if only they’re willing to put in the effort.