How to start your own newspaper with Paper.li

There’s a few reasons that you might like to start your own online newspaper,

1. You want to keep up on all the latest news and share it with likeminded souls

2. It’s a great way of collating the latest news on your favourite topic into one area where you can easily scan headlines before reading whole articles

3. You’ve been hiding a streak of megliomania and a desire to be a media baron for years and this is the cheapest way to go about it

Before you dive head first into world media ownership, there are one or two things you might consider.

Firstly, what is the overarching theme of your newspaper? Social media tips (like mine, go figure), travel stories, a place for writers, your favourite sport… You can have any theme you want as long as you have a theme.

Secondly, how are you going to set it up and who with? I use Paper.li but a quick search will lead you to others. As I’ve only used the one newspaper website (I’m not a budding media baron) that’s the one we’ll be exploring.

Thirdly, where on earth are you going to draw your content from? Unless you are a prolific writer, doing it all yourself is quite time consuming. Requesting submissions could either leave you with nothing, a load of crap, or an avalanche of prospective articles some of which might actually be relevant to your theme.

So, back to Paper.li. If you aren’t already the proud owner of a Twitter account, it’s time to put your toe in the water and open one. Once you have the account conduct a search on your topic of interest. Follow the people who seem to be making the most interesting remarks or sharing the most relevant links. Check their profiles to make sure they are not going to suddenly delve into kinky sex practices or vitriol (unless that’s your theme, of course). Create a list and title it according to your theme. For instance, my social media list is titled Social Media and is populated by people who have interesting things to say and share on social media.

Now, open a Paper.li account and link it with your Twitter account.

I already have a paper called Social Sidenotes that sources news from my Twitter list as well as online news websites. For this post, I’ll start a new paper called Under the Net – news from the world of netball.

1. Click on “Start a newspaper” and follow the prompts

2. Title, description and then decide on frequency. Daily is fine for a topic such as Social Media but might be too often for netball news so think about how often you’re likely to receive newsworthy updates first

3. Choose your news sources by clicking on the plus sign

4. In the “Search for Anything” box, type your Twitter name: @whatever/listname

4. Click on Done and there you have it, your first newspaper

5. Time to tweak – click on Settings and uncheck/check topics (may have to scroll down)

6. Click on Edit Sources to update your content sources

7. Browse through Appearance, Promotion etc and choose what seems best to you and your topic. Note that some items are only available if you upgrade (ie. pay) to the Pro version

8. Final point to note: your tweets will also appear on the front page so please, self-edit. You don’t want to undermine your efforts by tweeting something really dumb or really personal

Now, it wouldn’t hurt to go take a look at the articles that have come up. I’ve just found something about a sweepstakes, not sport related at all so I deleted it from the page.

You are now a fledgling media baron! Go play with your new empire.

Under the Net

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