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Is this the future of print media?

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Is this the future of print media?

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Automatically aggregated ‘newspapers’ have been a feature of social media now for a few years, with sites such as Paper.li hunting the social web for interesting stories on topics that matter to each user.  These services typically take content from sources recommended by the user and produce a virtual newspaper based upon what the algorithm decides is the best content.

Now that’s nice, but it’s all done virtually.  The Long Good Read is doing a similar thing, but doing it with a physical newspaper.  It’s a service launched by the Guardian that uses algorithms to curate the best pieces from the canon of their daily content and turns it into a printed newspaper – all within an hour.

Whilst Paper.li and their ilk are available anywhere and everywhere, The Long Good Read is thus far only available from the Guardian Coffee house in east London.  The paper itself is constructed using the print on demand technology from the Newspaper Club, a company whose mission is to let anyone print their own newspaper.

The content itself is curated by an algorithm that selects the top 30 articles from that weeks Guardian, after already stripping out blogs, infographics and shorter articles to try and find the best content to be enjoyed over a coffee.  Those 30 articles are then edited down further by a human editor, with the result being a 24 page newspaper that is delivered to the cafe each Monday morning.

There have been well publicised challenges facing the print media industry, and whilst content in this form is unlikely to challenge mainstream publications, it’s a nice example of taking something popular online and using modern technology to produce a nice, niche product.  It may even be a precursor to a customised newspaper, much as Paper.li is attempting to do in the virtual world.

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