The Eleven Best Net-Letters

On the Internet anyone can be a publisher. That means the quality of the hundreds of publications varies tremendously. Some electronic publications are useful and others are simply self-indulgent. Here are ten which are consistently newsy and informative.

This list was prepared by John Higgins, the publisher of the Net-Letter Guide, a compendium of free "newsy newsletters" available on the 'net. You can find the Net-Letter Guide on the Usenet groups alt.etext and, or you can get it by sending e-mail to and asking nicely.

  1. Late Show News. A clerk at a Chicago financial services firm who obviously stays up way too late puts out a weekly newsletter on the late-night talk show wars. It's biased toward Letterman but contains surprisingly good industry dirt on Leno, Conan, etc. Get it on or at
  2. Fitz's ShopTalk. Daily dispatches on the TV business, both networks and local stations, by media headhunter Don FitzPatrick. Primarily features summaries of wire-service and major newspaper articles, but also includes some full-text reprints. Fairly short. How to get it: E-mail with the message body "SUBSCRIBE your-email-address".
  3. Edupage. An Atlanta-based education group puts out this tasty tip sheet on information technology and media issued three times weekly. Quickie summaries primarily of newspaper articles. Moderate length. How to get it: send e-mail to with the message body "SUB EDUPAGE your name".
  4. Computer Underground Digest. The latest news on cyberspace issues. CUD's best when screaming about the latest hacker or BBS raid, good when picking apart government policy issues. But they occasionally reprint the entire agenda for some upcoming computer conference (Yawn.). Moderate length. To get it, send e-mail to with the message body "SUB CUDIGEST your name". You can also find it on the Usenet group
  5. AIDS Daily Summary. A great clipping service summarizing major publications' medical, social, and political coverage of AIDS. It's prepared for internal use by the Center For Disease Control, but is redistributed freely by a gay activist. This is the kind of stuff Internet cheerleaders can brag about because it's about the real world, not just insular cyberspace. High volume. How to get it: send e-mail to with a message body of "SUBSCRIBE DAILY SUMMARY your-email-address". It is also posted to
  6. RFE/RL Daily Report. News on Eastern Europe culled from the scripts of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Very informative but also very high volume. How to get it: e-mail with a subject line of "SUBSCRIBE RFERL-L your name".
  7. Cyberwire Dispatch. Very high quality coverage of the Internet and cyberspace. Editor Brock Meeks, a Washington, D.C.-based reporter for Communications Daily, became famous by getting sued for libel by a ""-type who took offense to an article blasting his financial schemes. Short. How to get it: e-mail with a subject line of "SUBSCRIBE CWD-L your-email-address". It is also posted to the Usenet group comp.society.privacy.
  8. Rachel's Hazardous Waste News. Good but lengthy weekly letter from the Environmental Research Foundation. RACHEL stands for Random Access Chemical Hazards Electronic Library, a database. To get it, send e-mail to In the message body, include your name, e-mail and postal addresses. (Fund-raising pitch to follow, no doubt.)
  9. Daily Report Card. A great summary of news in K-12 education, clipped from the major newspapers. Very newsy. Comes out of the Washington, D.C.-based National Education Goals Panel. How To Get It: e-Mail with a body of "SUBSCRIBE RPTCRD your name".
  10. BONG. The official newsletter of the Burned-Out Newspapercreatures Guild, which appears to consist of a single witty and bitterly cynical Dayton Daily News reporter. Sample commentary on journalism: "So how come Nicole Simpson's dog and the renter of her ex-husband O.J. Simpson's guest house were both named Cato?" Short. How to get it: E-mail with a body of "SUBSCRIBE BONG-L your name".
  11. This Just In. A tasty weekly collection of strange news from a California tech publisher. One issue told how a Venezuela teen needing a spot to relieve himself somehow went into a lion's pen. "Perez struggled both to live and to get his pants up; a friend helped by hitting the lion with a brick. And that brick came from ... where?" Short. How to get it: e-mail with a message body of "SUBSCRIBE THIS-JUST-IN".

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Copyright © 1994, 1995, 2004 by Kevin Savetz. The information in this book was collected in 1994-1995 and has not been updated since.