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Not so fast

I just stumbled across The Faster Times, which bids itself as “A new type of newspaper for a new type of world.” It was launched in June of last year. I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, it’s always nice to see people starting new things. All media is moving onto the Internet sooner or later, and the sooner that process is complete, the sooner I might actually have some sort of career ahead of me.

On the other hand, is this really a new thing? Looking at the “About us” page, I see the same line-up of under-employed New York City freelancers one would probably rub elbows with at a Media Bistro party in Midtown. For some reason this gives me the creeps.

On the homepage, they’ve got links to articles about nuclear proliferation, the stock market, baby hair-cutting myths, and an all-white basketball league. Click through and the articles are short summaries with links to other news or documents, or longer commentary pieces.

In other words, The Faster Times is basically a blog about, well, everything.

That’s OK, I guess. But it certainly isn’t as revolutionary as their manifesto on the “About us” page leads one to believe (manifestos pretty much always disappoint, don’t they?). Also, I continue to insist that in order to be successful in Internet media, you need a theme, or a motif. Dare I say a niche?

Slate is contrarian: “You thought it was this way? It’s actually the opposite!” BoingBoing is totally random, but they bring it together with short, easily-skimable posts and the slogan “A directory of wonderful things.” Gawker has an Economist-grade fanaticism about consistent editorial voice. TalkingPointsMemo has a very well-defined audience.

What’s The Faster Times’ motif? The New Newspaper? I’m not feeling it.