Skimming Or Skimping On The News?

November 7, 2013

theSkimmMany of us don’t have time to read, watch or listen to the news as much as we’d like. So now here comes theSkimm, the latest of many services that will send condensed news straight to your inbox.

With HuffPo’s mix of Kim Kardashian updates next to my election results, and current events continually being put into lists of 32 ways they relate to Lena Dunham, the idea behind theSkimm made me want to throw my hands in the air and give up.

Upon further digging, I found that the brand is looking to create a better news experience for busy professionals, currently aimed towards millennial women. Each day, an email newsletter will pop up in your inbox breaking down big stories in a bulleted list of key points. The two 20-something women behind the venture saw a void in the market — their educated and busy friends were not engaging with news in a way they enjoyed, and had no time to keep up with it.

Sure, theSkimm may seem like “oversimplification of the news towards women,” which is the most common comment I saw about this new service. But, at the same time, there’s definitely a need here. Who has time or wants to sit and watch the news? There’s a smartphone or computer in front of us more often than a newspaper or television. I have a subscription to Time magazine, but the number of issues I actually read is very low. It’s turning into a purely superficial subscription, mainly to impress the mailman and my neighbors.

This trend can be witnessed on every cable news network, as a constant stream of tweets scrolls through during each program. Wolf Blitzer has a twitter handle. Enough said. Twitter and Pinterest recently have hired executives to help develop integration with mainstream journalism publications.

There is still a lot up in the air about social media and its effectiveness on being a news source. A recent Pew Research Study found that one in three Americans get their news from Facebook. Granted, this could be a product of people stumbling upon news while on the site.

Pew Research Study

Pew Research Study

Similarly, the same study found that nearly one-in-ten U.S. adults get their news through Twitter. These news consumers stand out as younger, more mobile, and more educated — and these are the millennials that the theSkimm caters to.

Whether intentional or not, these sites have huge power when getting information to a large number of people. However, these platforms have everything from your friend’s wedding pictures and a Kanye West rant to breaking health care developments. Is a service like theSkimm the new way to filter just the news, in a format that millennials prefer (can I get 140 characters or less, please)?

I still have my reservations, as at first glance it appears to be yet another site to condense news and oversimplify important topics. However, I’m intrigued to have access to quick news blurbs without seeing a Miley Cyrus nip-slip on the same page. For now, I’m signed up, and plan on reading my new Time magazine cover to cover.