Saturday, August 9, 2014

News Sources

I’m often asked how I keep up with events and a list of news sources for what I read.

Before I provide my list, the primary quality is an insatiable curiosity about current events and a thirst to read. I prefer reading over television and radio because I can go at my own pace, stop and reread something that didn’t quite make sense, evaluate the source and look for bias in the author, and pause to think about what’s being said.
Non-print media doesn’t provide that opportunity. The audience is forced to go at the pace of the newscast, can’t pause to think, can’t go back to make sure they heard an item correctly, and therefore often absorb the bias of the reporter without realizing it.
Most of my reading is done on the Internet. I use mostly free sources because media companies have not figured out how a business model that makes economic sense to consumers. For example, my hometown newspaper began their paywall by asking for $12.95 a month for internet access. For another dollar a month, they will drive by my house every morning and throw a traditional ink-on-paper newspaper in my driveway.
Most people think like me: It costs much more than one dollar for ink, paper, power to run the printing press, and vehicle expenses for that traditional newspaper. The publisher is trying to rip off consumers and I refuse to comply.
That’s why I was delighted when the Washington Post offered internet access for $20 a year. That’s a deal I can accept. I would be willing to subscribe to another four or five sources at that rate. If newspapers would rethink their offers, they could increase revenue from the internet immensely.

Now my list:
1.       Washington Post online as described above. I have access to everything the paper offers and prints.
2.       Local TV and news radio internet sites. The stories are concise and mostly help me keep up with events in my area.
3.       Newsola: an internet news aggregator that draws stories from Google News. Size and color show importance and newness of the items as well as categorize items into world, nation, financial, entertainment, and technology.
4.       Worldcrunch: when U.S. media do not report events in other parts of the world that interest me. Worldcrunch is an aggregator from foreign media sources.
5.       Newsmax magazine.
6.       Email lists. These change from time to time depending on the importance of their content and the level of bias in the source. I do not mind a slant or spin; I expect it. This is why I read from liberal and conservative newsletters. With input from all sides, I evaluate the information, tease out the truth, and come to my own conclusions. However, over time email newsletters tend to deteriorate. Either the frequency is interrupted and delivery becomes erratic or the author begins to force his perspective onto every item. When the newsletter makes judgments about the news based on whether the author approves of the person, not the actions of the person, it has crossed a line and I drop it.
7.       Radio news that I hear as I drive to and from work.
8.       Yahoo/ATT home page. Yahoo may be second-rate as a search engine, but its other services are first rate. It’s a good place for keeping up with general events.

I haven’t tried Buzzfeed because I think of it as a humor site. Most of my interaction with Buzzfeed comes from postings on Facebook. However, I have heard that it has built itself into a reputable site for authentic news. I will have to check it out and maybe add it to my list.

I may have a few others, but my attention to them is infrequent enough that they do not come to mind. If I remember one, I will amend this post.

What are your sources? Put them in the comments and I’ll check them out.