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'theSkimm' Founders Try To Change How Millennials Read The News

Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin were working for NBC News when they decided they wanted to create their own news source — one more in tune with the lifestyles of millennials.

They quit their jobs and launched “theSkimm,” a daily email newsletter that arrives early in the morning and gives subscribers a few major news stories covering a range of topics.

“We wanted to fit in with the routines of the millennial market we were going after, so Carly and I just looked at what we did every morning and that was roll over and check our phones,” Weisberg says.

The two women join Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti to discuss theSkimm.

Interview Highlights

Carly on how the idea of theSkimm was developed

“theSkimm is really your secret weapon of the day. It was really inspired by — you know Danielle and I are long time friends — and it was inspired by the role we were playing for our own friends, given our backgrounds working in news. We saw that they didn’t have a news source that they were engaging with or that fit into their lives and routines, so we launched theSkimm as a way to really deliver a product that fit into their routines… Our goal is that you finish reading theSkimm in under five minutes and you can go to any professional or social event and you can talk to anyone about anything.”

Danielle on their experience at NBC News and the decision to leave

“We loved NBC News. It was the hardest decision I think we’ve ever made, was to leave. At the same time, we saw that the media landscape was changing and the career paths that we aspired to have didn’t really exist in the same way. So we started thinking about what the next steps were for our careers. What does it look like five years down the road or ten years down the road. But we began to see a void in the marketplace.”

Danielle on why they decided on a newsletter format

“We saw that we wanted to fit in with the routines of the millennial market we were going after. So Carly and I just looked at what we did every morning and that was really roll over and check our phones. And we would read emails and the ones we read first were the emails that came from our friends. So we thought in order to get this demographic, first thing they wake up, it should come in an email and it should read like it’s coming from your friend.

Carly on whether theSkimm encourages readers to read more deeply

“We come at this as two people who lived and breathed the news. We choose it not only a hobby, but as a profession. What’s so great about theSkimm is that we are catering to your routine and that you have no time, but also really making you engaged and making you informed about topics you might not seek out or might not be exposed to on a daily basis. I think one of our favorite anecdotes we get from our readers is when they write in and they kind of have coined the term a ‘Skim moment.’ They’ll say ‘I was at work and talking and literally all of a sudden I was talking about North Korea and saying things I never really knew I knew about because I read it at 6 in the morning from theSkimm.’”


  • Danielle Weisberg, co-founder of theSkimm, which tweets @theskimm.
  • Carly Zakin, co-founder of theSkimm.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.