What’s Your News Diet?

I've been spending more time than usual lately, thanks largely to the U.S. Presidential Election, reading news. In fact, i've been spending way too much time on that task, so I decided to spend a little time reassessing my approach to the news and seeing if I could somehow streamline it without losing any real value.

On any given day, I tend to read my news from the following sites:

  • Yahoo or Google News (Yahoo's been edging out Google recently)
  • The WEEK Magazine
  • truthout.org
  • AP
  • PBS
  • Pulse (on my iPad, though they have a Mac version now as well)
  • My friend Tony Seton's private news feed
  • NBC
  • MSNBC
  • Salon.com

In the aggregators (Yahoo News, Google News, The WEEK, and Pulse), I get a smattering of other major outlets but I allow the folks responsible for the sites' content to pick and choose for me.

I asked my friend Tony Seton (he of the private news feed), a long-time savvy journalist, thinker and writer, for his recommendations for the slightly above-average American who is interested in keeping current on important news without spending the 2-3 hours a day I spend on it or the 3-4 hours a day Tony devotes. I wanted his help whittling down the vast reservoir from which we draw our news to a small number of outlets that most people who care at all (a distinct but not minuscule minority) would find time to read in some depth. Our focus is strictly on news, not on columnists and analysts.

Tony trusts almost nobody to edit for him, so he doesn't look at any news aggregators except a California-centric site called Rough & Tumble. His thought is that if you read the LA Times, BBC and AP, you get a pretty good idea of the important things going on in the world around you in as objective a way as you're likely to find. So Tony's abbreviated list for the busy reader:

He does, however, say that he won't give up the New York Times even though he considers it a bit pedantic for his taste. The LA Times does a great job of national and international news and the fact that it is based in the state in which he lives (and so do I), makes it that much more valuable.

I mix it up a lot. But I have found some sources that I've eliminated completely:

  • Wall Street Journal (once venerable and reliable, now FoxInPrint)
  • USA Today (brings new meaning to the word "shallow")
  • Washington Post (too insular, but some of their columnists are world-class)

What do you read or listen to?

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