A New Kind of Newspaper

I was published again in a newspaper! Sort of. Well not at all, technically. I was cited in a newspaper for… wait no. Hrm. Maybe I should approach this discussion from another angle.

Twitter is pretty cool in a lot of ways, and in spite of my former dismissal of its silliness, I’ve come to understand where its possibilities lie and how they’d fit into my technological scheme. If I’m interested in someone or something, I can follow it. I can also follow friends to get updates from them. And I combine the two: when an article is interesting to me, I can re-Tweet it so that my friends can see. If there’s a topic of interest but no articles are forthcoming, I can search for it. There may be a hash tag for it, letting me search for what other people are saying about it. Most folks already know all of this. But someone’s taken the hash tag article thing another step.

There’s a site, Paper.li, that lets you manage your own sort of online newspaper. Once you’ve told it what sorts of things you’re interested it, it will scour assorted social networks and find people talking about those things. Then it will slap them on a page for you in a format not unlike a newspaper or general news website, so you can browse them. And that’s how I’ve been published a couple of times now: articles I’ve linked to have been scraped into this so that random people out there can read the stories, with credit to me for having been the source of the link.

The possibilities of this whole ordeal aside, this sort of thing is going to be the final death of the traditional newspaper. Why would I want to read some analogue crap, letting random editors decide what I should read, when I can customize my news-reading experience on the fly and on the go from millions of potential sources and without getting ink on my fingers? Even in comparison to our local paper’s website or tablet app this is leaps and bounds ahead of the curve.

The concept of the citizen journalist has been around for some time now. Now comes the rise of the citizen editor.