Remember When We Used to Read the News, Instead of Watching It?

I just read a Melody Kramer article about text only news sites making a comeback. When I started using the Internet, I would set my browser for text only, images would not even load. What a great idea to go back to that! I can read just fine. I don’t need anyone to spoon feed me with videos or pictures. I’ll start with the NPR feed and see how it goes. It actually looks like a static version of Dave Winer’s Rivers of News, except when you click on an item in one of Dave’s rivers, you get the full blown article, complete with images, videos and pop-ups. With Thin NPR, you click on the item and you can quickly scan/read the whole article in text. Text: clear, unencumbered, lightning fast, quiet text!

Just think, no super fast, powerful phone would be needed to consume the news this way. But obviously this wouldn’t be for everyone, just for those who can read. As Kurt Vonnegut said in his conversation about writing with Lee Stringer, “when we think about what reading is … it’s impossible. Literature is idiosyncratic arrangements in horizontal lines in only twenty-six phonetic symbols, ten arabic numbers, and about eight punctuation marks. And yet there are people like you who can look at a printed page and put on shows in your head — the battle of Waterloo, for God’s sake. The NewYork Times says that there are forty million people in the United States who can’t read well enough to fill out an application for a driver’s license. So our audience cannot be large, because we need a highly skilled audience, unbelievably skilled … Thank you for learning how to do this virtually impossible thing.”