Newspapers were once the primary source of information for us. We would regularly walk to the store to pick up the daily paper to learn how our favorite teams were dong, what was happening in the world, the local community, business, arts, leisure and all other categories that continue to be covered by the newspapers today. Newspapers were at the center of our information world and they were raking in the cash from two primary revenue streams – subscribers and advertisers.
What a difference a few years make. In 2005, the newspaper industry had $49.5 billion in advertising revenue. In 2010 the number was $25.8 billion, 50% of 2005. http://www.naa.org/Trends-and-Numbers/Advertising-Expenditures/Annual-All-Categories.aspx Many newspapers have closed, local coverage has been disbanded, other sources are now used for content. The most prominent newspapers continue to try new business integrated print and digital business strategies to slow the decline and survive. An old business model that has been completely disrupted by competitors that were not even considered competitors just a few years ago.
One of the best attributes of leafing through a newspaper was exposure to new and interesting topics that were not on your radar screen. If you were like me, I first read the sports section and moved on to business, world and local news. But before I passed the newspaper on I would go through the entire paper on time, many times “stumbling upon” other interesting articles in science, architecture, technology or other topics that I was less familiar with.
In today’s “sound bite” society, we can quickly peruse Google News, Yahoo, the home pages of our favorite newspapers and magazines. The world has changed from one where the publishers controlled access to their information to one where content distributors provide one stop shops for all content. Most of you use these content aggregators everyday as part of your ritual of being current about what’s happening. You choose what you want to read and what you don’t. You still read the sections that you are most interested in, but since you are time starved are you spending an extra few minutes looking at other topics of interest. Maybe you are, maybe you are not.
Here are a few suggestions for you. If you have a smartphone or and iPad, check out the applications from Flipboard, Zite and Pulse. They are awesome content aggregators, in easy to use formats made specifically for these devices. They will provide you with your key areas of interest but they can also connect you with many other topics, such as design, humor, arts, leisure and many others. Zite enables you to create your own channels that finds stuff you are interested in – I have set up feeds for the Beatles and Italy as examples.
So today take five minutes to read something new, to go outside your normal routine and engage with a topic or news article just interests you, not because it is part of your routine or you need it for work. It will open your mind, expand your interests and give you a peak at what is happening in other peoples worlds. Take Five!
And hey, you just might become the most knowledgeable person at all of those holiday parties you will be attending!
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Have a great day!