The demand for E-News

By Courtney Fishman

Last week I spent time at the CMA/ACP National Fall College Media Convention.  There, over 2,500 student journalists gathered to learn more about bettering there publication.

Last Thursday, Jim Brady and Chris Krewson gave a keynote speech at the conference about a website they launched about two months ago: billypenn.com 

Billypenn.com is challenging the norm of consuming news.

Billypenn.com is challenging the norm of consuming news.

The website helps readers navigate anything and everything regarding Philadelphia news by linking different news outlets’ content to their website. The difference, however, is their voice. They add tongue-and-cheek headlines to formerly snoozy articles, hoping to lure readers in with their comical SEO.

Brady and Krewson hope to reach a younger audience with this new site. They send out a daily newsletter to their subscribers filled with qucick one-liners about important topics going on in the news.

But BillyPenn isn’t the first news organization to launch a daily news email. The Skimm is also a popular, national-based E-newsletter, which does the same thing.

Co-Founder of The Skimm, Danielle Weisberg, told Forbes the purpose of the newsletter is to inform individuals without taking up too much of their time.

“The Skimm is your secret weapon,” says Weisberg. “We cross subject lines and party lines to give you everything you need to know to get your day started off right.”

So, what do you think? Would you subscribe to one of these daily E-Newsletters? Or is this just skimming the surface?

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9 responses to “The demand for E-News

  1. I’ve been a dedicated subscriber of TheSkimm for two years now. For those who aren’t familiar, TheSkimm is a daily email that summarizes the nation’s top five-ish headlines in roughly three sentences with a fresh, young, easy-to-read voice. There are hyperlinks at the bottom of each blurb for those who are interested in going more in-depth with a particular topic.

    Well researched and always credible, TheSkimm is how I get almost ALL my news. I’ll admit I’m a terrible journalism student, and I don’t have time to sift through headlines every day. But a daily news bite like this fits seamlessly into my jam-packed college schedule. I got my roommate hooked, too, and we now have a daily post-Skimm chat over breakfast each morning. For young readers like us, daily newsletters like these are just what we need.

  2. I agree with Lauren, I think that fast skim-friendly headlines are perfect for the typically packed schedules of college students. I think these sites are just skimming the surface, but that’s part of what makes them so attractive. I don’t subscribe to any of these sites, but after reading this I’m definitely going to check them out.

  3. I agree with both of you that these sites are incredibly useful. The Times-Delphic is actually looking to adapt this format into a weekly newsletter for the student body. Would you guys read it?

  4. I never knew anything like this existed, but I am about to go subscribe to The Skimm and BillyPenn ASAP. I walk past the newspaper stands in GK everyday, sometimes I grab the NY times, sometimes I don’t. And when I do, I glace at it and put it back because I know I am never going to have the time to read it. After hearing about these new, fast and short news blurbs, I am excited. Because that means I am actually going to know what is going on in the world, without having to follow 100 places on twitter or reading 10 pages in the NY times. I think these new sites are informative, and helpful because they tell you what is going on in a few short seconds, but also give you the option to read more if you want. I also feel like students would be more inclined to read this from the TD, Courtney, than reading the whole actual paper. I know I would be more inclined to do so, just to save time. That way, I know if I want to read more, I can do so in the actual paper!

  5. Twitter and social media and hashtags have become the fastest method of news in this digital era, especially with the younger generation. As important as it is to be a well-informed citizen, a lot of younger people have taken to 140 characters snippets for their information. In this format, something quick and easy can be informative, humorous and also a brilliant marketing tool that can bring traffic to a website. It’s a win-win.

  6. I think this is a great idea. I haven’t actually heard of the site or the newsletter, but I think they are both brilliant concepts. I typically scroll through my news list on Twitter to get some of the news highlights for the day. But, things can get repetitive from site to site, so it’s hard to know if I’m reaching all of the most important things. To get a tidbit of information about news is great. It would give me an idea as to what is going on, and if I want to learn more, then I could do some searching after that. I might have to subscribe to TheSkimm, and yes, I would read a similar newsletter from the TD.

  7. Thanks for all of the feedback, I think that this is definitely a viable way for millennials to consume their news!

  8. I had never heard of these sites before, but I think they are genius. It’s such a great way to get people who don’t want to read extensively to at least be aware of some major events going on in the world. I do think it’s important that we don’t rely to heavily on these kinds of newsletters though. There are more than five important stories going on in the world a day so while these are great, traditional media is still incredibly important.

  9. I love this topic! I actually got The Skimm a couple months ago and I absolutely love it! With school and everything going on, The Skimm provides me with my daily dose of what’s happening in the world and I get a nice break from my busy schedule. I think these websites are helping draw a younger crowd to the news, which is a hard task to do.

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