15 Jan

Do You Skimm?

Posted by Jenna, Under Uncategorized

Today is National Skimm Day (as declared by the ladies behind theSkimm) and I think their service is so fab that I’m writing a post so you guys will Skimm* with me. Give them your email address and each morning you will wake up with a daily news summary in your inbox. It’s a medley of politics, world news, business, celebrity tidbits, and sports. The language and descriptions are witty and sassy and it’s the best way I’ve found to keep up with what’s going on. I used to get all of my news from The Daily Show and Colbert Report, but the Skimm ladies have won my heart. Every Saturday I turn over in bed, grab my phone, and feel a little sad that I’ll have to wait until Monday to Skimm again.

This is not hyperbole. I really love the email that much.

Sign up here. That’s the link they gave me, although they didn’t offer me anything to share it with you. (Editor’s note: Oh wait, my email this morning said they are giving away prizes for people who refer lots of friends! Hopefully that will be me.) I want you to sign up because I think the women behind theSkimm are making the world a better place** and I hope they become rich and successful while doing it. I’m inspired by them.

 

skimm daily email subscription news summary

 

*Using that as a verb is quite fun. I’d like to verbify something I create.

**Smaltzy, I know. But they’re educating people, specifically women, on world events in an engaging way unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. And  they’re doing it in a non-partisan way, which I admire. 

30 Comments


  1. Hm. I discussed an idea like this in the form of a site with a friend a few years ago. I found The Economist to be a good alternative. They have “This week in…” sections that cover world politics, economics, tech, etc. They also have some good podcasts (I know you like them) – I try to listen to “the week ahead” each week. This focuses on world news (including the US) and is also non-partisan.

    I don’t like the idea of news being catered to women. That in order to be informed, women need to get news from a source whose logo is a female silhouette. It’s feels condescending to me.

    Reply

    Kiri Reply:

    Lauryn,

    I agree that news shouldn’t have to be catered to women, but I do get the Skimm in my inbox everyday and have noticed that a lot of men subscribe too (they have a birthday section at the bottom of each day’s news and there seem to be almost as many male names), so even if “news for women” was their intention in the beginning, it seems that they are reaching a wider audience.

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    Jenna Reply:

    I think that pinkification often means stupeficiation but I don’t think this is dumbed down news. It has a tone that is typically associated with females, and the creators are transparent about the fact that they are females, but I think that anyone who enjoys their writing will enjoy reading. It makes me think of Stuff Mom Never Told You, which has a very specific tone, but isn’t something only women can enjoy.

    I have tried the Economist podcasts but they require too much concentration for me. Part of that is the content, part of it is the accents, haha. I would love to see theSkimm as a podcast! Right now my go-to morning podcast is Marketplace.

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    Anna Reply:

    I disagree. I think the Skimm is somewhat “dumbed down.” I mean, it definitely helps news items reach a larger audience who wouldn’t have a complete understanding of things that others might, like items about the Supreme Court. Unless you’re a lawyer or extremely interested and knowledgable in constitutional law, you probably don’t understand the intricacies of a Supreme Court opinion. But I think the Skimm makes it seem like women can’t understand current events unless it’s conveyed in a certain tone.

    I see why people like it–it’s quick and it’s written in the vernacular so it’s easier to understand. But I think there are better “quick” new sources out there.

    I really enjoy NPR in the mornings; I think they do a better job of delving into issues in a way that the Skimm really misses.

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    Jenna Reply:

    Is there a news highlight style podcast that you know of that I can listen to in the mornings? The NPR app doesn’t run in the background on my iPhone (at least it didn’t last year when I tried it).

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    Anna Reply:

    I listen to it in the car in the mornings to school (I’m in law school). My commute isn’t super long but I hear about 5 or so of the top new stories. If I want more information, I usually Google the story and read it. I don’t really listen to podcasts besides This American Life.

    I also scan Google News a few times a day because it constantly refreshes the top stories and has a wide variety of sources. If something peaks my interest, I’ll read the article. I’m sure that’s not revolutionary, though.

    Do you have a radio app or a radio? Maybe you can listen to NPR in the background while you’re in your office.

    I definitely understand why people read the Skimm but it really irritates me when people start spouting off about things that they “skimmed” on there and act like they are completely informed. Can you tell someone irritated me about the Supreme Court opinions released in June? I think it provides a good jumping off point but I don’t think it truly is informative. Also, the way they write it drives me crazy. Adult women should be able to read news articles without needing to reference Friends.

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    Rachel Reply:

    The Skimm is in no way meant to compete with or replace something like NPR. It’s meant to be a small, entertaining part of a larger news / current events picture. I love reading the Skimm on BART on my iphone, after I’ve listed to NPR in the car, and before I read the NYT on my computer or watch the local news at home. Their phrasing and one-liners always get a chuckle from me.

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    Anna Reply:

    Most people I know who read it use it to replace other news websites. It’s definitely sassy and fun but it should not be replacement for balanced news websites. I do not think you can have a well-informed opinion about anything (well, maybe except the Justin Bieber news items) by merely reading The Skimm.

    Moreover, I think it’s really demeaning that it’s a website marketed towards women that dumbs down the news. I personally am weary of a site that declares that the Supreme Court is “in sesh.” I could do without Friends references while reading about the presidential administration or the Supreme Court. I could also do without the news items on Justin Bieber.

    That said, everyone is entitled to their opinion. I’m sure it’s a great website for people, especially those that don’t listen to NPR or read the NYT or the Washington Post. I personally think that it stereotypes women and my time is better spent getting the news from other sources. To each their own.

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  2. I’ve never heard of this service, but can’t wait to try it out! I’m actually just ending my maternity leave this week, so this is a perfect way to help me stay informed while I’m short on time. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. Interesting. Never heard of this but I already love my news app. They should make an app and then maybe I’ll be interested, lol. Opening email means I’m working and I don’t work every day.

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    Jenna Reply:

    What news app do you love?

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  4. I love the Skimm! So fun and quick and informative!

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  5. While I have a hard time speaking against anything that aims to educate/inform people, I do think the content is dumbed down. And while there is a place and a certain merit to simplified, easy-to-read information, I don’t like it when it comes with the implication that it needs to be adapted for the feeble female brain.

    Personally, I don’t need or want “sass” in my news, but if somebody does and it makes a difference between them reading and not reading, a good thing was achieved.

    Reply

    Kelly Reply:

    Yes. I agree with what you’ve written as well as some of the previous comments. I recognize that everyone likes to consumer their news differently and has the right to their preferred format & depth — but when news is dumbed down AND with a subtle female slant it starts to make me feel like it is just perpetuating gender stereotypes. But, in general, I think this is probably not the site for me. Personally, if I am going to inform myself I like a little depth.

    Brevity is nice if you use it as a jumping off point to learn more about key topics but sometimes I think being minimally informed can be as dangerous if not more dangerous than not being informed at all because it can make you more prone to not grasping the full context. If we’re talking about pop culture news than sure, I’m fine with just enough knowledge to know what people are talking about but if it is more serious current events I personally to go more in-depth on a few things that really matter than shallow on many topics.

    But again, to each their own. I would never suggest that people need to consume news the way I do. That said, I really wish they would remove the female oriented branding. It seems patronizing and, if their audience is partially men anyway, not necessary.

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    Kelly Reply:

    I will also say as someone who does marketing for a living, National Skimm Day makes me cringe. I get that companies make up self serving holidays all the time but this feels so much more overt and tacky than say ‘National Grilled Cheese Day!’

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    Eva Reply:

    “Brevity is nice if you use it as a jumping off point to learn more about key topics but <b<sometimes I think being minimally informed can be as dangerous if not more dangerous than not being informed at all”

    This is a very important point as well.

    I also agree with your point about the “female-oriented branding” being unnecessary. If it’s not something their female readers are especially fond of, and many readers are men, it’s something worth considering. Especially because they might find that this sort of branding is limiting their market reach and turning off potential users. The concept of presenting a summary of world news in a simple/lightearted tone could stand on its own, without narrowing the target audience in ways that could be construed as patronizing.

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    Eva Reply:

    Argh, botched html hurts my heart.

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  6. I do Skimm! I love that I can get snippets of the news in the morning without being bombarded by a news blog site. If there’s a story I’m interested in, I will pursue it further. If not, I will make a mental note, and be able to talk about it if it comes up in conversation.

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  7. Ohmigosh, this sounds sooooo awesome! I tried the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal like my husband suggested but they were sooooo boring! So excited to try this new service!!

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  8. Hey Jenna,
    I’ve been wondering: can’t you sue the people who write hateful things about you on GOMI for defamation of character? Or maybe the website owner? Some of those things are pretty awful – it seems like there should be some legal recourse.

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    Jessica Reply:

    Several others have asked about this as well. I’m pretty sure its freedom of speech. As for it being defaming, it may indeed be, BUT it is all information that was taken from a public place: the internet. Sure some of the information may be skewed or downright incorrect (like a horrible game of ‘Telephone’), but it started from things that Jenna posted online in a public space. So I’m thinking it isn’t an option. Plus it would be a ton of time/money/hassle. I think the way Jenna is choosing to handle it is much more practical/reasonable.

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    mare Reply:

    actually, it is not freedom of speech. the first amendment only protects individuals against government entities and state actors, not private citizens, internet forums, or most publications.

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    mare Reply:

    to clarify, the first amendment protects an individual’s speech from the government and/or state actors, in certain instances. the first amendment does not give an individual the right to say whatever he or she wishes to/about another person or business. depending on the speech, the facts, the forum, and a host of other factors, the speech may cause the speaker to be civilly liable, e.g. defamation or false light.

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    Jessica Reply:

    Thanks for clarifying! I definitely used ‘freedom of speech’ in a much too flippant way; sort of the way people say, ‘Oh, ‘Im so OCD” without being diagnosed or being educated about what OCD is. So thanks for educating me. :)

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    Betts Reply:

    Short answer: No.
    Jenna would have to be able to prove that people were a) purposely spreading b) false information and it had c) caused her damages (meaning she had lost money, a job, or reputation in some demonstrable way – not personal hurt or upset). It’s a very difficult charge to prove. There’s also an issue of whether or not Jenna has made herself a “public figure” – basically, people who put themselves on the public stage get less protection than those who are pushed unwillingly into the spotlight, in part because public figures have a platform to defend themselves. If Jenna wants to respond to specific accusations that are untrue, she can.
    She also probably couldn’t prove intentional infliction of emotional distress since from what I see in their terms, GOMI officially has a policy of discouraging posters from contacting bloggers or their sponsors directly (and IIED is also notoriously difficult to prove). Being critical – even mean – isn’t a crime. If she were getting repeated harassing emails with specific, potentially credible threats, that might be actionable, but random “I hate you, I think you’re thus-and-such” emails – that’s just opinion, and you can’t sue someone for expressing an opinion, even if it is distasteful.
    Ugh, sorry. I hardly ever comment because when I do, it always seems like I end up writing a novel. Brevity, Betts. Brevity.

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  9. This sounds like just what I have been looking for. Signed up yesterday and got my first skimm this morning. Congrats on your shout out and enjoy the Starbucks!

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  10. Hmm…Skimm. Furthering the “dumb-ification” of America and the and notion that women need products to be catered to them before they can use them.

    It’s sad that a service like this even has an audience. How incredibly condescending – especially to us women that can read an article in the NY Times or Wall Street Journal and don’t need a comparison to Friends to comprehend a Supreme Court ruling.

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    Laura Reply:

    What she said!

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  11. I’m sure you are aware that the Daily Show and Colbert Report are comedy/political satire. So just about anything else might give you real news. I’m not sure about this new service, I’ll check it out before I decide what it is but I suspect it’s the same.

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  12. I certainly hope you are not getting your news from satirical television only. While Jon Stewart and Colbert are entertaining they are not hard news.

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      I'm a farm-raised almost-crunchy stroller-pushing picture-taking lifestyle-blog-writing gastronomy-obsessed divine-seeking thrift-store-combing cheese-inhaling pavement-pounding laughter-sprinkling lover of individuality and taking chances.
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