reading any single source of news in 2019 seems really antiquated and almost misguided to me since this means basically putting your informedness at the behest of the editorial decisions of other people and their takes on the events of the world. obviously there are reasons to read the opinions and takes of publications that you like and are sympathetic to your politics but to take them discretely as “the news” is something i can’t handle. imo the best option, though overwhelming and frustrating and not at all perfect, is to aggregate-source news info from a twitter account set up to follow a wide range of sources/journalists
For me the Guardian and the Irish Times are my subscriptions. The first for a global perspective and first class journalism, the second for local news.
My wife has read the weekend print version of our centre-left (?) national paper in bed every Saturday morning since we met (and I assume she’d been doing it for much longer). I glance at Sports and Food sometimes. “Oooh, imagine this recipe… But without the meat obviously… Yeah…Looks good…”
It’s not uncommon that my Saturday morning includes an irate call to a dispatch office in Toronto or somewhere because our paper has not been delivered.
Sometimes we find it buried in the snow later, after they’ve dispatched some poor person to send us a second one.
My daily news is generally The Guardian, CBC, and sometimes NYT. For less daily I’ve got a lot from The Atlantic.
I also love Democracy Now… and I listen to a lecture on Alternative Radio usually once a week.
Canada Land is a great podcast about the media in Canada (mainly) and sort of a meta commentary about the news and news industries.
There are also lots of great smaller sources.
I actually do the same. How ethically dubious is it? I’m not sure… there are apps out there that you pay $4.99 for once and they’re ad free, vs the free ones that bombard you with ads.
Then again, the NYT bombards you with ads whether or not you subscribe. Bit of a tough one. I wish if you paid, they’d maybe, say, become non-targeted or something. Wishful thinking.
Professional reporter for a major, MSM organization here. I recommend you subscribe to your local newspaper, if you still have one. One of the big problems out there is that there are a lot of journalists who just do re-write. If you support a local organization that hires reporters who actually report, it’s going to be much more informative than a website that just aggregates from Reddit.
Also, honestly, don’t bother with Twitter. It’s a cesspool. Disinformation tends to travel quickly even among seasoned gatekeepers. I have to stay plugged into the news feed for my job, but I find reading the morning papers is much more useful if I want to retain information. This has some research backing it, too–when we read things online, our brains are more likely to “store” that information in short-term memory, while if we read things on paper or in books, more of it’s stored in longer-term memory. We also don’t get distracted by tabs (I have 20 open right now) and moving, colorful ads full of modules that we want to buy!
what if your local paper has a strong political bias that you don’t support?
what if you don’t want your news filtered through an editorial board of one institution?
writing off twitter as a viable source of news for a savvy culler of feeds is silly.
twitter offers both unaffiliated (and yes unfiltered and often uninformed) voices and, of course, links to MSM as it’s published. perhaps sadly, it is the best way to try to wrap ones head around “the events of our world” in all their messiness and as they occur.
I think one of the big problems in this country right now is that there’s a lot of misunderstanding about the news business, how it operates, what reporters and editors do, and questions of bias. I want to be helpful here, and just explain how things work from my POV. If this comes across as over-explained or condescending, that’s not my intention.
I don’t know what paper you’re talking about, or why you think it’s slanted in one way or another. But I’ve been a reporter for over a decade, for outlets ranging from neighborhood news to international, in the US and abroad, and with editors ranging from middle-of-the-road to conservative. I’ve done other kinds of work before, from working in restaurants and call centers to landscaping and teaching, and I love this line of work more than anything I’ve ever done.
In most cases, news isn’t filtered through an editorial board. Boards write the opinion pieces, and those editors tend to be different from the line editors who work on reporters’ copy. In most smaller papers, the “boards” tend to be the publishers. The copy you’re reading is usually closer to what a reporter will file, and edited for clarity and for sense by a line editor. Editors are not apparatchiks who fix stories so it comports with a view. What they’re there to do is give a broader perspective and make it understandable for their audience, since reporters tend to be closer to a story. For instance, I tend to report on a beat that can be highly technical, so my editor helps me take a step back and describe it in a way that’s more helpful for a non-technical reader.
Reporters are trained to look for what’s new, find out why it’s happening now, and to see if there are any incongruities between the plans and the reality. This ends up leading to a lot of negative news, since “city council functioning well for tenth straight year” isn’t, by definition, newsworthy.
Are there biased reporters and editors? Sure. But friends of mine who work for both hard-right and mainstream/left publications have been called biased just for doing their jobs.
It seems you have your own thoughts about your own local news sources, and you’re free to dismiss them. It’s a free country. For all I know it’s run by a local crony who’s only looking to run editorials about how great he is. But I get enough flak, death threats, and, yes, accusations of being “fake news” on a daily basis just for reporting indisputably true facts, so I have some skepticism about what people think about bias.
As for my antipathy toward Twitter, it’s not silly, and I don’t really want to get into a name-calling session here. I’m not sure how to make this argument without coming across as pompous, but Twitter tends to give people the feeling of being informed without actually giving them a lot of high-quality information, as so much wrong or spurious information crowds out the news. This is a tough thing to convey, since it seems counterintuitive that you can be less informed after reading more information. I think this is more a product of how Silicon Valley has rigged social media, so we get nice hits of dopamine every time we refresh, which clouds out judgement about the news we get. If it feels satisfying, then it must be.
The reason why I said you should support your local news outlet is because there’s a concentration of resources in a handful of mega news companies, and so much of those resources are devoted to covering a few topics. Most reporters who were working a decade ago don’t have a job now, and most local newspapers–the ones that are still around–can’t afford quality staff anymore. There are non-profits that work with local outlets, and Google is doing a program to fund local newsrooms, so there may be alternatives in your area.
The outlets that people have mentioned are fine, but studies show that, for instance, when a local newspaper folds, municipal bonds deteriorate in value because local corruption increases. Reporters covering local water authorities or zoning changes or PTA meetings are incredibly valuable to the functioning of local communities, even though it’s not as sexy as what might be happening in the White House. And most importantly, those are topics you can do something about! These are the kinds of jobs that are important. And if you think they’re wrong, you can write a letter to the editor. They’ll probably print it, too.
These are pretty good I think:
For quick overview of headlines:
Sorry I just feel it’s kind of necessary to point out that this forum is used by people from all over the globe, so talk of “this country” seems a bit strange.
Where I live, in Western Australia, the print news is absolutely garbage. There are only two major local newspapers and they are both owned by the same national conservative media organisation. One of them is simply their Sunday publication. Beyond that we also get the national rag “The Australian” which is part of Rupert Murdoch’s corrupt News Corp empire. They’re not even discreet about their biases. They seem to revel in their ability to gain political influence. It’s truly horrifying.
I think the ‘this country’ stuff is totally relevant to those of us in Australia too, and probably in other countries where the degradation of the print media has come at a cost to local communities. I don’t think anything they have said is that out of the ordinary from my experience, as a fellow Australian. It is refreshing to see someone calling on people to pay attention to local matters, to read local rags about boring council things, to not get caught up in the bigger, sexier, global drama.
Just wanted to say thanks to the people who posted atlasobscura and knowherenews, they are both fantastic resources. I really try to avoid paying attention to the world political stage, but staying in touch with ‘the things happening’ is something important to me.
For my contribution, I will say that I enjoy the work that The Monocle puts out in both print and on their podcast.
Yeah I was just sort of reacting to the fact the post seemed to imply that this was a conversation amongst Americans rather than one on a global forum. Admittedly it was a bit of a knee jerk reaction.
That aside, I don’t know what to make of this. I read my local community newspaper more than any of the papers I mentioned before. It is ok. I probably only read it because it is delivered to my mailbox free of charge, but I also consider it to be the most legitimate place to find local news.
Never been quite sure why the major/populist news platforms need to be so parochial and offer so little in the way of global news (and I’m not just talking about White House goss). Last I looked an issue of The West, it starts out with around 4-6 pages of local news (which is fine) but then there’s equal space given to “opinion” pieces (which is always just conservative gasbagging) and only around two pages dedicated to global matters. Of course it’s got about 10 pages for sport though!
Speaking of which, any good recommendations for news sources that don’t report on sport at all? Is it even a thing?
My spouse has a journalism degree and was a copy editor for a local paper in Texas before she moved back to her parents to help her mom through a serious illness (and has been working in libraries since).
Her paper was owned by a corporation who put most of their emphasis on TV, thought newspapers were dying a slow death even 20 years ago, and made no bones about it. The company itself had a conservative bent, but the reporting in her paper did not. They weren’t required to kill certain kinds of stories or push a particular agenda, and were basically left alone. (Unlike, say, Sinclair requiring its TV/radio stations to make certain blatantly right-wing suppirting statements.) Nothing about the job raised any red flags in terms of journalistic ethics.
My impression is that most of her job was making the layout and headlines work, on top of the grammar/style/clarity/consistency one would expect.
I’ve recommended this elsewhere, but it’s also appropriate to this thread. Alan Rusbridger’s Breaking News talks a lot about the financial and political pressures brought to bear on print media, and how the internet age has impacted traditional journalism.
oh because of the political candidates it expressly endorses, the advertisements in the paper, and - most importantly - the type of coverage it gives to current events. news publications without question do have politics (its odd to me to think of this being contested) and this comes to bear on the prioritization of coverage at the level of what gets talked about and how, what gets elided, and how the publication engages with its readership, what they feel they owe their subscribers and what they can and can’t talk about as to not alienate them (and lose their patronage).
it’s clear you have an allegiance to a certain type of journalism, but categorically dismissing twitter and recommending people subscribe to their local paper for news seems both myopic and antiquated to me - no personal offense meant here of course. comparing my years consuming multiple print papers a day as well as various .org sites in the pre-twitter age vs now, there is absolutely no question which is superior in terms of efficacy and breadth. what you see as a cesspool i see as a limitless source of real time reactions, expositions and counter-expositions without the gatekeeperism, convention, and extra-journalistic obligations of MSM type converage. the onus is placed on the consumer to determine what is reliable and what constitutes a thoughtful or correct take given the state of affairs and this, to me, is how it should be rather than the much more didactic model of single source news which often all but tells one how to react by virtue of prose, framing, and context. no thanks.
there was a time when i suppose i valued (or more likely simply didn’t interrogate) my news being interpreted by a single journalist and packaged by a single publication for consumption, but that time is long past. my only interest in MSM these days is in aggregate- as a way to both get “the news” and to observe the hegemonic function of news networks and outlets in terms of what and how they choose to cover world events.
For news I’ll check the BBC. It gets slated (because people in the UK love to moan about everything), but I think to have an institution like the BBC (even with all its problems) is a precious thing and we should look after it.
Alternative source for news for me would the The Independent (website: https://www.independent.co.uk/ and print). Those two cover my needs quite well, and The Independent about the only print newspaper I can tolerate enough to read.
I subscribe to the Washington Post online. Their ipad app is very clean and works great. I’m happy to support their work. If you subscribe via the Apple News app (which you don’t actually have to use), it’s $5.99 instead of $9.99/month, if that helps.
This isn’t a very popular option, but it’s possible to just not participate in the modern news cycle… this little essay on the subject by Aaron Swartz made me feel less alone in this decision: http://www.aaronsw.com/weblog/hatethenews
It’s still possible to research elected candidates, and learn about the world and your community without subscribing to the news in whatever form. Might also give some welcome perspective that’s hard to achieve chasing whatever the latest chosen subject for discussion happens to be…
i have a bachelor’s in journalism from the middle of the great recession. nobody has asked to see it since and i have never used it, though i’m sure what i was taught influences my work as a video editor on some subconscious level.
i broadly agree that supporting local news is pretty important and even if the coverage is neoliberal-y it’s almost definitely still worth it—i’m sure some papers are absolutely straight corporatist trash, YMMV. but generally it feels safe to say most people working for the the print media in 2019 are not in it for the money, and they believe they are doing the best they can to show what’s going on out there.
but i’ve also spent the last couple of months working on a documentary on an event where the implicit biases of both tv and print reporters contributed in no small way to some truly horrifying, sickening results. the reporting is so obviously deficienct when viewed in retrospect it lead to me feeling compelled to look out for more sources that report on reporting.
to that end, i would highly recommend the podcast citations needed, as well as fair.org, a publication they contribute to. the show takes present day media issues and attempts to trace the origins of the narrative. (for example, following the murder of eric garner by the police, the new york post went from 0 stories about kittens being rescued by the NYPD to having 10 in a 3 year period.) the hosts are coming from the left, but the information they present is well sourced and available for review, and they try to issue corrections if they become aware they’ve misrepresented something.
I totally agree with support local news and journalism, but recognize that a lot of local papers are not what they used to be… depending on where you are it could be hard to find a local paper at all, or one that is still doing real journalism.
I tend to read a combination of local news from the main paper (The Toronto Star), national news from CBC, and international from The Guardian. Along with those I use independent sources for all three levels…
Likely the best thing you can do with now is find a variety of sources and platforms that give you what you’re interested in, and expose you to things you might not already know about. If you can do that and get out of the commercial new cycle, that’s amazing… Magazines like The Atlantic are good for that since they spend more time with single stories.