Thursday, October 20, 2016

Media consumption diet for this election year

Friends have asked me what I read to keep informed during this awful election. I read too much for my peace of mind, I think.

But since I've posted on this topic before, I do notice I've changed my sources somewhat.

For a long time, I've paid for and read the New York Times. I also regularly read the Guardian; it has done terrific work recording the hundreds of killings by U.S. police departments. And this election season, the Washington Post successfully lured me to pay up for its coverage. For months, it seemed to be doing the most thorough job of digging into Donald Trump's many shady enterprises. David Fahrenthold has been THE essential source of Trump revelations. The Wapo columnists are interesting, especially Greg Sargent and Paul Waldman at The Plum Line.

Several individual reporters/pundits have provided exceptional coverage and insight. Farai Chideya has offered profiles of subsegments of the electorate. Jamelle Bouie, chief political correspondent at Slate provides historically grounded commentary from an African American perspective. And Rebecca Traister at New York has succeeded in describing consistently and thoughtfully how woman hatred plays out in this contest.

Two newer journalism sites have often outpaced the legacy news media organizations, carving out niches that begged to be filled. I sure hope Vox thrives. There's amazing journalism coming from Ezra Klein's baby. And I find Talking Points Memo essential, not so much for their click bait outrage snippets, as for Joshua Marshall's historians perspective on the circus.

But probably the most important shift in my media consumption diet has been the addition of numerous podcasts. This has to do with being retired from the paid fray. I'm running and walking and photographing with delight. And at the same time I'm listening. Often this means audiobooks, but for the last six months it has frequently meant podcasts. The Vox guys (and Sarah Kliff) contribute The Ezra Klein Show and The Weeds. These provide interesting, thoughtful, background on just about anything in the news. I don't always (often?) agree with all expressed here, but that is what makes these productions interesting. Another podcast I value a lot is Code Switch: a conversation about race and identity. Finally I should mention one election focussed production, The United States of Anxiety, a series well worth listening to which digs into race and class dynamics as this season reveals them in suburban Long Island. It is terrific journalism. The first three of these I'll still be listening to after November 8.


Hattie said...

I get most of my news on Twitter, which I can quickly scan and then decide what I want to spend more time on. Not much for podcasts, though. I seem to be off them for the time being.

Brandon said...

I don't listen much to podcasts because I don't have an iPod or smartphone. I hardly watch cable news anymore because they're focused on campaign trivia and personalities, especially this election. I read our local paper and The Honolulu Star-Advertiser. I also check out various Twitters, blogs (Louis Proyect is informative), and The Drudge Report. Sometimes NPR. And I'm a longtime subscriber to magazines, including Reason and Chronicles.

Brandon said...


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