Developing a Digital News Ritual

Posted on June 2, 2009 by Comments Off

David Patton, Editor In Chief

It’s not news to say that the ritual of reading the morning paper (or even the existence of print news) is going the way of the dodo. Certainly there are a wealth of choices that offer that same information and news in the form of an online torrent.

NewspaperThis is the personal impact of the communications cataclysm we’re experiencing. It’s as important as ever to be well read on both the macro and micro level, but the tools and habits have changed. There are thousands of sites that need to be looked at and just as many tools that can be used to funnel the information into our brains. Choosing the right one is daunting. Finding the time to explore the options is also daunting.

I’m increasingly curious about how people manage that flow of information. And, more importantly, how they are staying in the know without that ritual when being constantly distracted by email, phone calls and the increasingly hectic schedules to which many professionals are becoming accustomed?

It seems like too many people are throwing up their hands, giving up on the news ritual altogether and letting the torrent of information wash over them without really getting them wet. It’s no help that the mainstream media is spending most of its time creating multiple versions of the same news without spending time (or money) telling deeper stories or investigating complex issues.

The plop of the newspaper (or trade pub) on the driveway or desk made things easy for us to both know what the big news was or skim through to discover an interesting article buried on page 25. But it looks like those print rituals won’t last much longer.

So it’s time to develop a digital news ritual. Experiment with new tools like Google Reader, Twitter, Xmarks or aggregators like Alltop. You don’t have to start from scratch. There are likely early adopters in your office who have already done some of the experimentation. And if you are one of those who has already found a digital reading ritual please share your tips.

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