a renewed love affair with the news

June 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

Today I enjoyed one of my favorite aspects of keeping up with the news: lying around reading the Sunday New York Times. I still think to a large extent I could go without following the news the rest of the week and just catch up through the Times. This week I took a walk over in the 95 degree heat to check out their building designed by Renzo Piano. It’s pretty impressive and I enjoyed the installation in the lobby, Movable Type by Mark Hansen and Ben Rubin. Through hundreds of digital boards it tracks the words captured through the Times.

Besides getting back into the habit of reading the Sunday paper, I’ve also gotten back into other news sources I used to enjoy. I’m not sure why I gave up the Daily Show and the Colbert Report. Let’s be honest, following the news can be a depressing affair and these shows help you stay up on the world while providing a laugh. I can still fall right asleep after watching.

I’ve also found other news sources that expose me to things I should be aware of, pleasant or not. I found Anderson Cooper 360 to be a well curated source of info. This week he was covering various organizations who try to convert children who may be gay into becoming heterosexual. He also does a good job of covering the progress with potential political candidates.

In addition to more traditional news sources, I found a few other gems:

The Daily on the iPad. It’s a good way to stay up on headlines, although I’m still not sure I see it as the best regular news source. It reads a little like USA Today + US Weekly.

Planet Money podcasts through NPR. Twice a week these podcasts breakdown various aspects of the global economy in a relatable way.

From a political perspective, through Twitter I’m now following @BarackObama, @President & @andersoncooper to stay up on issues relating to White House policy, general politics and what’s shaping up in terms of candidates.

Beyond what’s happening with the world I’m now checking in every now and then on the Daily Camera to see what’s happening in Boulder. I definitely could check in once a week and be more than happy.

All in all, I think I’m more of a weekly news reader than a daily news hound. I do have a few new sources to add to my repertoire that will keep me a bit more up on the world around me and I’ll take that.

 

 

How many times do I really need to see Weiner’s wiener?

June 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

Sorry to bring up this image on my blog, but it’s been the “overarching image” of the week. I’ve been resolutely following the news across a wide range of sources and it’s safe to say the main story has been about Rep. Anthony Weiner lying about sending photos of his wiener. They’ve pretty much covered “every angle”. While it’s been an entertaining & pun-filled week of wiener jokes, I also have to ask myself how much I really gain from following that ongoing saga beyond a little entertainment. Another political sex scandal? Big news.

I think the Daily Show summed this week of news up nicely in their segment C#@k-Blocked Roundup. It was a pretty humorous look at the much more significant news that took a backseat to all of the media attention on the Weiner scandal.

I don’t fault the media for having a little fun. I’ve had a few laughs as well. It’s not often something so ridiculous and so perfectly ripe for ridicule comes along.

But this week was ultimately supposed to be about me understanding what I get from following the news. Let’s be honest, a week of Weiner is more than enough. I suppose the news IS ultimately trying to have a conversation about whether he should resign. What do I think about that? Do I think he’s a scumbag? Yes. Do I think he’s an idiot for thinking he could do that and get away with it? Yes. Ultimately do I think he should resign? Whether there was criminal activity or not, he lied to the public and thought he could get away with it, so yes.

The news was a bit “lopsided” this week. It’s hard to decide whether I should be following it daily or weekly. Based on this week I would say “no”. I’m leaning towards a weekly summary rather than being caught up in the daily unfolding of events. I think I would have done just fine getting the summary of it all in the Sunday Times.

I suppose I wouldn’t have had as many laughs though.

 

establishing my own agenda

June 10, 2011 § Leave a comment

This famous cover of The New Yorker by Saul Steinberg was the perfect representation of the view that NY was the center of the universe. The agenda for many things, especially the news, was set in NY. That is still largely the case, but more and more that power & agenda are shifting. With the explosion of Twitter and the rise of organizations like WikiLeaks, information isn’t put through the same filters, or any filters really, before it reaches us.

I’m looking forward to checking out –  Page One: Inside the New York Times , a movie following the transformation of the company to keep up with the digital world. It’s a pretty fascinating time in media and this movie will be an interesting look into how one of the great news sources is coping.

One of the things I’m exploring this week is not only finding reputable sources but also making sure I’m getting real information vs information that’s heavily filtered, especially in the case of our involvement in Iraq & Afghanistan.

 

i want news, not propaganda

June 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

When it comes to the news,  I want information, not propaganda. From years of working in advertising I can tell when I’m being sold to. Given I rely on the news to help me shape my view of the world around me, I think it’s important I don’t fall into the trap of one-sided opinions.

I don’t think finding unbiased news means finding a single, unbiased source so much as checking in with a variety of sources from which I can draw my own conclusions. I don’t want to sit there reading the AP news feed all day; I am looking for someone to curate what’s happening in the world for me.

This week I want to explore various US news sources, both general and specialized. A friend had recommended Planet Money on NPR awhile back as a great way to understand what’s going on with the economy. I also want to look at a variety of international news sources. I’ve been a longtime reader of The Economist but this time around I also want to open myself up to the point of view of the rest of the world, like China for one.

I also want to find my “news person” or people. I’ve always been a huge fan of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert but I want to check out some others as well. Anderson Cooper 360 seems like a dreamy place to start.

Throughout the week I’m going to explore all the options and hopefully by the end of the week I will have a handful of sources I can rely upon to stay up to date. I spent a good four hours on the plane yesterday reading Wired, The Economist, The New Yorker and (ahem) a little US Weekly. I’m all caught up on my Weiner headlines. The news media has had a lot of fun with that one this week for sure.

Am I informed?

June 6, 2011 § 1 Comment

I’ve never been a news junkie, but I used to be pretty good about keeping up with what was happening in the world around me. Over the past few years, however, I quit keeping up with the news. For awhile I just didn’t have a lot of time to keep up with anything other than Apple, but I still didn’t pick it back up over the past year when that changed. I think part of the reason was a desire to simplify the information I was taking in; the other reason was I found it kind of depressing. It can really feel like doomsday out there sometimes. Facebook has contributed as well. I tend to be well informed about things I would typically care about from my friends.

An interesting example with Facebook was when the terrible earthquakes hit Japan. I immediately found out about it through FB and also found out the most important information, that my friends and their families were all ok. I didn’t want to watch the repetition of images of destruction on TV. Through FB, I also found out about a number of relief programs I could help contribute to. I was informed in a personal way and there was something I could do about it.

I know I need to do more than just rely upon FB & friends to keep up to date. I want to be informed myself. I know in my desire to shut out the bad stuff, I’m also shutting out a lot of important & interesting stuff as well. This week I want to look into a few things when it comes to the news:

1) Who do I want to inform me? (yes, I will even give Fox News a fair glance)
2) How often do I want to be informed?  (daily? weekly?)
3) What aspects of the news do I want to keep up with?  (Sports? not likely. A new interest in local Boulder news? probably.)

It may seem like a silly thing to spend a week contemplating, but so much has changed in how you can get news (and even what qualifies as news), I don’t know that going back to my old habits makes sense. Plus, I will be in NY this week and I can think of few better cities to be asking these questions in.

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