Email newsletters are making a comeback, and I for one am thrilled. Let’s face it, there is far too much content on the internet. You can spend an entire day reading Slate, Business Insider, Vox, Buzzfeed, and Mashable and not even cover 1% of all the content published on the web that day. You’ll also probably end up reading 2-3 bogus articles for every good read you find.
That is where the email newsletter comes in. By subscribing to newsletters like THIS ONE, THIS ONE, or THIS ONE, you are entrusting your content consumption to the many esteemed editors, journalists, and various other internet writers who know a good article when they find one. They round up the goodies and send them to you each day.
Morra Aarons-Mele explains the newsletter phenomenon in more succinct terms for the Harvard Business Review:
“It’s about the problem of discovery in an overwhelming age. Most of us don’t want more content – we want less, but better. That’s why newsletters like The Skimm have millions of subscribers – they’re easily digestible, usually providing four or five news items each morning, providing links where interested readers can take a deeper dive. And they’re regular, arriving always on a certain day, at a certain time.”
The newsletter also has the added appeal of being personal. In an age where most people can find your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn profile with a simple Google search, the email inbox is still a private area. There is a feeling of exclusivity you get when you receive a newsletter.
I consume about 60 different newsletters a day. It started as a habit to stay on top of the news cycle and grew into an obsession to round up every shred of information on the web. I don’t recommend taking my approach, especially if you’re OCD about having an empty inbox. But my newsletter addiction has allowed me to find the best newsletters on the web and keep my Pocket overflowing with good things to read.
If you want to have the best content on the web sent to your inbox daily, I would recommend subscribing to a few of the following newsletters. Subscribing to two or three of these will keep you on top of current events and might even give you some new things to talk about with family and friends
For writers and journalists who need to stay on top of the news cycle, the newsletter is a vital tool. Whatever topics interest you, find the digital publications that cover them best and subscribe to those newsletters (most respectable news websites have a newsletter nowadays). You could even take it a step further and start your own. It’s a more effective way to showcase your work than using social media because of its directness, and it gives you the ability to insert your own voice and build a deeper connection with your audience.
Most importantly for writers, having an inbox full of good reading material will only help you as a creator. As Ann Friedman says, “if you’re not consuming interesting things, you won’t produce interesting things.”
Without further ado, here are 10 newsletters that I have found to be among the best on the web:
10. Mike Allen’s POLITICO Playbook (DAILY)
This newsletter is literally a must-read for beltway insiders. It’s no-nonsense layout fills you in on everything on the political spectrum in 15 minutes. It arrives at the start of every workday.
9. Re/code Daily (DAILY)
There are several good tech newsletters, but I have found Re/code’s to be the most fun to read each morning. It provides the hottest news in tech each morning followed by a handful of links to good Re/code articles. But the best part is the “This is cool” link at the bottom of the email. That’s how I found the music video to this awesome FIDLAR song:
8. Jason Hirschhorn’s Media REDEF (DAILY)
REDEF.com is a website that suggests good reads from across the web according to its chief curator Jason Hirschhorn. It also has a daily newsletter that usually arrives early in the morning featuring an opening paragraph from Hirschhorn and links to roughly two dozen articles that offer insight into a wide range of topics and current events. I have found that most of Hirschhorn’s suggestions are exceptional.
7. Editor’s at This. (DAILY)
This. is a newsletter skewed toward a female audience that I enjoy nonetheless. It offers links to five long-form articles on the web each day along with some light commentary. The website (which is still in beta) says “This. is where you find and share the best entertainment, art, and journalism on the web.” It arrives in the late afternoon.
6. Medium Daily Digest (DAILY)
The Medium Daily Digest newsletter rounds up the best content published on Medium in the last 24 hours and sends it to you every morning. I enjoy the newsletter for the motivational articles. I read at least one each morning to jumpstart my day. Some of the topics featured in the newsletter include “life,” “productivity,” “writing,” “psychology,” “politics,” “self-improvement,” “music,” and “inspiration.”
5. The Ann Friedman Weekly (FRIDAYS)
Journalist Ann Friedman has one of the more popular email newsletters on the web and is a model for how a journalist can execute a weekly newsletter. As Morra Aarons-Mele writes, “Friedman’s newsletters feel like sitting down for a chat at the end of the week with your friend to catch up. She mixes links to her personal work with the best writing from around the web over the past week, plus more personable items like pie charts, gifs, and jokes.”
4. Quartz Daily Brief (DAILY)
The Quartz Daily Brief will likely be the first email you receive each morning (arriving right around 6 a.m.) and also one of the best. It begins with major headlines and news about finance and markets but then sprinkles in “surprising discoveries” and “matters of debate:” a variety of thought provoking articles that are just what you need to get your brain working first thing in the morning.
3. NYT NOW (DAILY)
This newsletter is the next best thing to having the New York Times arrive on your doorstep each morning. It gives you all the news you need to start your day and some extra tidbits you can chew on between sips of your coffee. If there was only one newsletter I could recommend from this entire list, it would be this one.
2. NextDraft (DAILY)
Dave Pell is a writer and angel investor who makes the extremely entertaining NextDraft newsletter. NextDraft arrives every afternoon and focuses on ten topics being discussed in the news with commentary from Mr. Pell. He often links to some great articles, but his humorous take on the news is what makes NextDraft worth the read.
1. Vox Sentences (DAILY)
Vox Sentences is a combination of all my favorite things about newsletters. It arrives each night at 8 p.m. and highlights three major news topics from the day that was via a series of short sentences (which link to the full article). In the newsletter, Vox does a great job of providing excellent context to major stories and also finding unique angles to discuss. It is simple, funny, and extremely informative.