Community: Do you consume news?

Amanda Ripley, a journalist with two decades of experience, admits she doesn’t read the news. She has an interesting column in the WaPo, which explains why and offers ideas about making the media a better place. Worth a read.

Question of the Day: Do you still watch the evening news or read newspapers? Has your new consumption gone up or down lately?

16 thoughts on “Community: Do you consume news?

  1. I consume the news, but not passively. We subscribe to 4 newspapers, a digital portal, 2 substacks and Apple News. We also share interesting articles with each other, usually from sites like Ars Technica, Slashdot, or the website of a local tv station.

    We don’t watch the evening news. We never got into the habit, as that was dinner/homework time. I “cut the cord” 4 years ago, which moved us off from broadcast tv even more. I also noticed even before that that the actual news content of the evening news was miniscule. The news content decreased from that point in time.

    We generally don’t watch broadcast news shows, as the intellectual level has dropped so much over the last decades. (I know, I sound old.) It’s a waste of my time to listen to some show that must continually redefine concepts for its audience. I can read an article or transcript in much less time than watching a broadcast show.

    I have started and stopped subscriptions to 3 other newspapers in the past year, as I found I never got around to reading them.


  2. Yes, but only written. I won’t even watch the video at the newspaper sites.

    I never watched the evening news, though I have a vague memory of having watched 60 minutes because I remember the Honeywell ads: At Honeywell tomorrow is today


    1. ” I won’t even watch the video at the newspaper sites.” Same for me! And I hate cable news, so repetitive and annoying. PBS News Hour can be good, but usually I just read news sites. I got onto reading twitter (Slate’s compilations were interesting for the debates) but it’s awful overall. (I suppose I could join and then set up a good list or whatever, but I refuse to do this.)


  3. I read newspaper articles online, but I don’t read a newspaper singularly. My library card gives me access to a lot including the NYT and I kind of dip in on subjects. We don’t watch broadcast TV and have actually never had cable TV (although lots and lots of Internet, pre- and post-screening era.)

    I do get headline news from CBC Radio. I listen in the car. Over the last couple of years though I have become disenchanted with their programming for a lot of reasons, so less than I used to. I also listen to some podcasts that are analytical about the news, but not breaking news, if that makes sense.


  4. When the war in Ukraine started this spring, I was watching/listening to a fair amount of CNN, US TV news, BBC, and the occasional French or German English-language news show. But this was mostly selected via youtube–I wasn’t watching any TV. Cable can be really good for new and breaking stories. I also started reading a lot of English-language Ukrainian twitter and Western mil-twitter. The Kyiv Independent’s twitter feed has consistently been very valuable.

    4+ months later, I’m not watching the cable news anymore, although I probably would if there were some major breaking story. Here’s my daily/weekly routine:

    –@mdmitri91 on twitter (Russian-Estonian guy who does translations of various Russian primary texts from pro-war figures and Ukrainian phone intercepts between Russian soldiers and people back home)
    –Illia Ponomarenko on twitter (He’s a war reporter and Kyiv Independent guy–I really worry for him)
    –a smattering of Western mil-twitter and English-language Ukrainian twitter
    –Julia Davis and Francis Scarr on twitter for translated clips from Russian Federation propaganda shows–lots of talk about being at war with NATO and threats about nuking us all
    –a mostly daily Russian-language youtube show with Mark Feygin and Aleksei Arestovych (Russian opposition lawyer and Ukrainian military/intelligence figure with advisory position in the Ukrainian government). People in Ukraine make fun of Arestovych, but at the same time, love him for being incredibly calm and reassuring.
    –Institute for the Study of War for daily maps. The Russian advances in eastern Ukraine seem to have stopped.
    –opposition Russian language youtube news and informational shows (some subtitled into English): Vladimir Milov, Maksim Kats, Ilya Varlamov, occasionally Yekaterina Shulman (a Russian political scientist). Almost all of those people are now outside of Russia.

    I’ve been watching an insane amount of Russian-language youtube this spring/summer. I also find myself understanding waaay more Ukrainian than I would have thought possible, although it requires more effort than Russian, and I miss more. It’s really interesting watching Ukrainian TV or youtube programming where it’s just normal for people to speak whichever language they prefer.

    Interesting note: YouTube is the one Western media outlet that continues undisturbed in the Russian Federation. One theory on this is that there’s no domestic substitute in Russia, it’s incredibly popular there (especially among parents of young children), and the Russian leadership is scared to make more people mad by blocking youtube.

    For US news, I’m less systematic. I just see this and that on twitter.


  5. A slightly different news environment here in NZ.

    I don’t watch TV news (public channels – we don’t have cable here) – largely because it’s on at the wrong time – cooking dinner, coping with homework, desperate for a glass of wine (on bad days). Though if something major is going on – I will make time to see the 6pm headlines. But, TBH TV news is lowest common denominator – about the intellectual age of 10, I think.

    I don’t subscribe to newspapers – but I do have feed readers harvesting the content of the major print channels. I’d run my eye down the columns and click through and read approx 1/4 – I can get access to the subscription-only channels via the library – but rarely bother. That’s probably about 2/3 local and 1/3 international news. I get British news headlines (and random royal family drama) in the same way (3 newspapers – but read a lower proportion of articles), and also Al Jazeera for the non-West perspective. (Sorry) don’t really bother with any local US stuff – anything internationally relevant will be picked up by the other sources.

    I regularly survey (and sometimes comment on) the 2 major right and left wing NZ blogs – which is an interesting exercise for a Centrist (both sides hate you, because you represent the compromises they have to make to get power).

    When driving, I almost always have National Radio on (free-to-air public broadcaster) – the quality is variable – or, perhaps my prejudices are showing in disliking some of the hosts/commentators. They are (supposed to be) independent – and both political sides moan that they’re biased – so they’re probably fairly neutral. Generally some good secondary source evaluation – and sometimes some really good make-you-think content.

    Almost never bother with Twitter – can’t stand the nasty backbiting and the echo-chamber effect.
    Occasionally I read a news article which has popped up on Facebook – though always check sources carefully, if that’s the info route.


    1. Ann said, “But, TBH TV news is lowest common denominator – about the intellectual age of 10, I think.”

      Plus, unless it’s a live broadcast of a breaking story, the coverage is often way behind.

      “Almost never bother with Twitter – can’t stand the nasty backbiting and the echo-chamber effect.”

      Never read the comments–unless it’s just a humor thread, in which case, twitter can be very funny!


  6. I recently set up a Twitter account. I don’t comment, just read certain posters. I unfollow and/or block any account that gets too emotional or nasty. I only follow ~30 accounts, and I’ve muted many of those.

    Even so, I’ve found it’s essential to remember to toggle “latest tweets” rather than the default “top tweets.” It’s very clear the algorithm is set to prioritize the most upsetting tweets. Although I’ve pruned so aggressively, an emotional tweet from those I follow would be something like using the word “wow,” I can still detect the algorithm’s effect.

    I wish I could figure out how to read the paper online through the library. Is that only available in Canada or NZ

    I do recommend 1440 News:

    The 1440 Daily Digest is free. This is their own description: “Overwhelmed by Opinion Disguised As Fact and Relentless Clickbait? 1440 provides an impartial view of what’s happening in the world so our readers can form their own conclusions. We scour hundreds of sources each day to bring you a single morning briefing thoughtfully curated by experts. ” I receive daily digests from other newspapers/news portals, and so far it’s the best, in my opinion.


    1. Cranberry said, “I don’t comment, just read certain posters. I unfollow and/or block any account that gets too emotional or nasty. I only follow ~30 accounts, and I’ve muted many of those.”

      I don’t have a twitter account (I’ve successfully dodged all the nudges to make me join), but that’s how I do it. I have people whose tweets I read, but I try not to read the comments, because they are often stupid, nasty, and repetitive. (I kind of wonder how many of those are bots…)

      Again, there are some good humor threads, but you don’t get one of those every day.


    2. “I wish I could figure out how to read the paper online through the library. Is that only available in Canada or NZ”

      Being cautious here, since I don’t know your local library’s subscription policy for e-resources. But many have purchased access to – with a whole slew of newspapers available – and make this available through the e-resource section of the library website.
      Usually you’ll log in with your library card number and password (just as you would to put books on hold). There’s complicated authentication that goes on in the background – but it’s pretty seamless from the front-end.

      I don’t love press-reader as a tool – but if it gives me access to subscription only papers, then I can live with it.
      Here’s the link to it on our local library website


  7. Another thing: You gotta know which stories need more time to “cook.”

    A lot of stories need 24-48 hours for enough information and context to come in to have an informed opinion on them. Sometimes, it’s even worse than that, like Uvalde. Not all of the available evidence on Uvalde has come in yet, although what we have is plenty bad.

    But in general, we all need to be wary of stories with no named source, stories where no physical evidence is presented, super short video clips, and stories where only one side has been allowed to give their side. The standards on all of this stuff have slipped ridiculously during my adulthood, which is why it’s more important than ever to reserve judgment and wait that 24-48 hours to get a more complete picture of what happened.


    1. Here’s a recent example of why reserving judgment is important:

      “Media organizations and social media users were up in arms over an image pulled from the video posted by the Austin American-Statesman and KVUE-TV that showed a policeman glancing at his phone as the shooter, in two adjoining classrooms just down the hall, was killing children and teachers with a semiautomatic rifle.

      ““This really makes my blood boil,” Terrance Carroll, a former speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives, wrote in a tweet. “This officer is checking his phone while kids & teachers are literally dying a few doors down.”

      “But to Uvalde residents and officials investigating the shooting, the footage showed something else. The officer depicted is Ruben Ruiz, whose wife, Eva Mireles, lay dying inside one of the classrooms with the gunman.

      “Mireles told Ruiz in a phone call that she had been shot. Ruiz, standing in the hallway with his pistol drawn, was unable to get to her. Other officers ultimately escorted Ruiz from the scene and took his gun. Mireles was alive when police transported her from the classroom, but she died before reaching the hospital.”


  8. I really miss the old International Herald Tribune, when it was a co-production of the NYT and the Washington Post. Each paper kept the other honest, it was short and concise.


  9. I have a hard time watching the 6 o’clock news for a lot of reasons but mainly because the anchors read the news like they’re reading a book (slowly with emphasis on each word) to kindergarten children with exaggerated voice and expression. For example: “A family (deeply sad voice) forced to take out HIGH-INTEREST LOANS just to get the GAS they need to take their DAUGHTER for (very somber voice) a LIFE SAVING medical treatment.”

    Cable is pretty much the same although it’s great to watch when they’re storming the Capitol.

    I have stopped paying the NYT and Washington Post and print magazines and now do monthly subscriptions to Kystal Ball and Saagar Engeti for their news show: “Breaking Points”. That’s really the only news show that I listen to regularly. I also listen to Glenn Greenwald’s “System Update” on Rumble. I read a bunch of Substacks like Matt Taibbi and also subscribe to David Sirota’s channel: “The Lever”. Also, I watch Russell Brand on YouTube –a mixture of good news topics and wacky delivery which can be hit or miss.

    I also read sites like BNE Intellinews that cover stories about Europe and Asia that our media just ignores. Like business news on how Russia is selling it’s gas/oil and making a boatload of money. For instance today, “Russian freight train arrives in Iran, marking new trade corridor milestone : The rail haulage development is important in the context of the accelerated development of the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC). A big aim of the corridor is to provide Russia with substantial import-export trade access to the Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman (Indian Ocean) via Iran, while also allowing it to develop trade links with Iran’s Arab neighbours to the west.”

    Stuff like that that isn’t covered much on CNN or FOX. I feel lucky that it’s all available to read (for free!), if I want.


    1. cy wrote, “Stuff like that that isn’t covered much on CNN or FOX. I feel lucky that it’s all available to read (for free!), if I want.”

      Of course, it’s also true that the cheese in the mouse trap is free…

      Those of us who roam hunting-and-gathering from non-standard news sources need to keep our wits about us.

      Of course, people need to do the same with more mainstream news sources, too…


  10. This is the first place I’ve lived that doesn’t have a farm report. Everywhere else, it was broadcast at 5 or 5:30 am*. Since the pandemic started, I’ve been following online. The farm report is essentially an international business report focused on agriculture. It covers anything that can affect ag. So droughts, wars, soybean harvest in China, beef in Brazil. that’s the news I consume. Things are bad all over. That’s why I made a major expansion to my garden this year and will do more this fall.

    * I have long watched because of nostalgia – it’s something I did with my dad, and i would watch while i did stretches and calisthenics, but I had given it up living here. but now it is salient again.


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