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News to me: European consumers stay informed with novel ways to “read” the paper

by Sairica Rose, cultural fluent

Taking a moment to sit and read a broadsheet from cover to cover is a pipe dream for many busy, perma-connected consumers. But the ritual of enjoying the news is experiencing a revival. Tech-enabled tools are helping even the most time-stretched and digitally dependent consumers go beyond scanning blogs or scrolling social media feeds to stay reliably informed.

Printed press remains a cult hero in southern European countries. Over 40% of Spaniards claim to read newspapers “every day” or “nearly every day”, according to the Centre for Sociological Research. And the majority prefer turning the pages (64%) to reading online versions (29%).

But getting news delivered in a sensually appealing format isn’t just for midlifers and seniors who nostalgically recall the ink on their fingers. The good news for European consumers (and journalists) is that a spectrum of innovative services are springing up to bring them reliable, relevant stories in a click — and save them the trouble of leafing endless pages or subscribing to entire publications.

Multi-tasking British teens and young adults can tune in to Clippet, an app that breaks news into digestible audio chunks. The news service employs 12 journalists aged 18 to 28 to script, produce and read 60-second “clippets” based on current events.

Phonicle is a nifty news-reading app that features professional radio DJs delivering top stories from mainstream dailies to on-the-go, info-thirsty German consumers. The free app seeks to bridge the gap between radio and printed news by combining the quality of a curated selection of up to 20 daily news articles, with the convenience of an audio platform.

For news buffs for whom every second counts, the UK’s Few Minutes app delivers popular news stories from major international press, filtered to suit users’ available reading time. Consumers can get their info fix while, say, waiting for a bus or having a coffee — and explore stories in further depth by bookmarking for later.

And selective, thrifty Dutch and German consumers can access full press articles online — without having to pay for the whole newspaper — at the Blendle digital kiosk. The service works on computers, iPads and smartphones, and claims to be to journalism what iTunes is to music: a practical, simple platform for readers who want to pick and choose what they consume, at a reasonable cost.

 

 

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