Sunday, January 25, 2009

The customized newspaper is right around the corner, if you're willing to go there

Mary Lou Fulton writes:

This idea has been kicking around for years, but in Europe, the Swiss Post (that's the postal service, not a newspaper) and the German tech startup Syntops are making it happen with their Personal News project. This is a small experiment, but a fascinating one that offers a mashup of section fronts from select newspapers in Europe and the U.S. An overview of Personal News, a three-month pilot project that launched in December, was presented by Syntops CEO Gregor Dorsch at this month's conference on Individuated News.

Here's how it works:

You register online and select up to seven newspaper sections by checking a box. Participating newspapers include The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Austria's Der Standard, Switzerland's Tages-Anzeiger and others. You can change your selections daily as long as you do so before the nightly 7 pm cutoff:

The participating newspapers deliver their product in PDF format to the Swiss Post, which then sends them to Syntops where the company's custom software, Syntops GmbH, assembles individualized PDFs. The PDFs are printed and dropped off to Swiss Post by 7 a.m. for delivery to the home by 11 a.m. There also is a digital version of Personal News available online.

The front page of Personal News includes a personal greeting (Good Morning, Mary Lou!) and lists your newspaper choices in an index. The interior pages consist of full pages from the selected newspapers, exactly as they appeared in print.

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