In a society that is becoming increasingly more digitalized by the day, news organizations flood the email inboxes of their readers. Notifications of different story headlines are distributed via several media sources, making an effort to grab someone’s attention.
Yet today’s culture has become so fast-paced that people aren’t always inclined to sit down and read the entirety of a 600-word article that catches their eye while they are on the go. With hundreds of news outlets producing endless coverage every day, readers have become overwhelmed and don’t know where to start absorbing the news.
Carly Zakin, 28, and Danielle Weisberg, 27, both became aware of this trend when they were working as news producers for NBC. Soon after this realization, they quit their jobs and decided in July 2012 to start their own company in New York, which is now known as theSkimm.
theSkimm is a newsletter that is sent out Monday through Friday at 6 a.m. EST to more than 500,000 subscribers, known as Skimmers. It aims to highlight certain news topics and provide brief contextual information that is most relevant to current events. theSkimm differentiates itself by writing in clever ways that specifically appeal to millennial females.
Weisberg told The Huffington Post that she and Zakin had wanted to create a news outlet that their families and friends could connect with.
“There was really no news source that they loved on a daily basis that they felt fit in with their routines overall,” Weisberg told The Huffington Post.
“You can read theSkimm for five minutes and jump into any conversation about what’s going on,” said Kaylin Marcotte, a community manager at theSkimm. “Other papers or news sources might assume previous knowledge, but [theSkimm] really tries to break down the issues to their core. It gives what you need to know to be engaged and informed.”
Marcotte focuses on theSkimm’s grassroots marketing campaigns and how to build a community of readers around it. In order to enhance theSkimm's readership, Marcotte connects with college students throughout the country who want to act as representatives and promote theSkimm, also known as “Skimmbassadors.”
Senior Katie Thomson became University of Richmond’s first Skimmbassador this past spring when she heard about the position from another Skimmbassador at Duke University. Thomson said she had called Marcotte herself and had expressed interest, for she had supported theSkimm in its inchoate stages.
As a Skimmbassador, Thomson promotes theSkimm on campus through various platforms such as social media, tabling and flyers.
“The goal is to increase subscribers,” she said. “[theSkimm] is getting more national recognition. It’s growing and becoming much more public.”
Sophomore Lauren Gill also became a Skimmbassador in September.
“I’m interested in a lot of social media and marketing so promoting theSkimm helps me gain those skills in promoting a website online,” she said.
theSkimm covers different events and issues each day as well as main topics. Recently, Ebola has been its leading story, along with coverage on the Islamic State and industry focus. It has also fashioned partnerships with Oprah Winfrey’s network, OWN, and the National Basketball Association, according to Lost Remote and the Wall Street Journal. Such partnerships will be an important revenue source for theSkimm.
As theSkimm continues to develop, Thomson and Gill are both working to incorporate students into the daily news cycle by promoting this news service. Marcotte said they would show people how theSkimm worked and concentrate on building it into different campus community groups and academic departments. The Skimmbassadors are planning to table in the Tyler Haynes Commons this week.
“We’re focusing on getting the word out,” Thomson said. “We also want to reach out to the new class. It can help them get involved.”
Margaret Frane recently became the third Skimmbassador on Richmond's campus.
Contact reporter Alyssa Gunville at firstname.lastname@example.org