The Changes in Publishing: How Do You Get Your News?

My father reads the San Antonio Express-News every day. He reads it thoroughly and, because he knows a lot of history, also reads several magazines, and has been reading the news daily for more than 70 years, he not only gets the facts, but can put them in context.

He reads the print edition. The other day he said to me, “Since you don’t read newspapers,” and I interrupted.

“I read newspapers,” I said — indignantly — “I just read them online.”

And I do. Every day I read The New York Times, The Washington Post, Salon, and Slate. I get daily email updates from Pro Publica, a nonprofit investigative reporting website, and, which provides a lot of liberal commentary.

For my day job, I use an RSS feed that gives me headlines from most of the newspapers in Texas and Oklahoma. That lets me keep up with Texas and Austin affairs for my own personal interest as well as for work. I also check out a lot of blogs for both information and pleasure; I’ll write about those another time.

I don’t read every word on any of those sites, of course — I scan their pages and look for the stuff that interests me. (On Slate, which I usually find annoying, I mostly just read Doonesbury.) But I certainly read enough to be well-informed.

I also listen to NPR news on KUT-FM. I don’t bother with television news.

My father’s a retired journalist from the days when print reigned. While he’s not a Luddite — he blogs at I Heard it at the Icehouse — he still doesn’t quite trust the Internet as a source of news.

Me, I don’t trust one publication of any kind as a source of news, which is why I read so many different ones. And you can only do that online. If I got the print version of every publication I check each week, I’d be buried under a ton of paper every day.

But I’ve only been reading my news online for a few years now. There was a time when I got most of my information from the print version of The Washington Post, supplemented by The Times and a few other publications that my office provided for free.

I still like the layout of a print newspaper, and I miss reading the comics that way (it’s way more trouble to read the funnies online). And there are things you pick up scanning a page of print that you miss online.

But I wouldn’t go back to print as my main source of news. One newspaper — one point of view — just isn’t enough for me anymore.

So how do you get your news?


Nancy Jane’s flash fiction for this week is “Thirty-One Rules for Fulfilling Your Destiny.” Her collection Conscientious Inconsistencies is available from PS Publishing and her novella Changeling can be ordered from Aqueduct Press.



The Changes in Publishing: How Do You Get Your News? — 8 Comments

  1. Whatever way I used to get my news, I think I’m going to get it from you from now on.

    Your comment about Slate is interesting. Why don’t you like it. I don’t read it so I don’t know much about it. Is it gossipy or something?

  2. Actually, I just went to Slate and found several interesting articles there, including one by Jack Shafer that’s relevant to Book View Cafe: “Not All Information Wants to Be Free.” He mentioned paying sites that work very well, including iTunes, Amazon’s Kindle material, and Consumer Reports (which I need to go consult). Of course, iTunes and Kindle both have huge companies behind them.

    Generally, though, I find Slate’s tone to be too snarky. And their headlines often promise more than the site delivers — a problem I find on a number of sites. The headlines are designed to get you to click, but the story has little to do with the headline.

    You don’t want to rely on me for news. Although I skim nationwide sources and listen to NPR, the bulk of my reading and skimming is done for work, and you probably don’t care overly about Texas tax issues and the fine details of submitting an expert report in a medical malpractice case.

  3. I’m not so sure about that. If Molly Ivins is right, anything to do with Texas legal issues is fit for entertainment.

  4. We’re still getting The NY Times on paper–if for no other reason than it makes doing the crossword puzzle easier. And the Sunday Times is a sacrament (a sacrament best managed with bagels and coffee, but in a pinch just coffee will do). I get a certain visceral satisfaction from handling paper. We got rid of the San Francisco Chronicle–the reporting was increasingly shrill and sloppy–but I check in on line for specific things. I often find something in the Times that makes me go searching the web for further data.

    I’m certainly not as well-read, newswise, as you are!

  5. I get most of my news from the internet. Years ago I used to buy the paper to bring to work, but then realized I never had much time to read it. Yeah, there’s a lot of disinformation both in print and on the net, and sometimes it’s hard to sort it all out. Snopes can be a useful tool. I can’t count how many times I’ve received links to hoaxes from people who didn’t realize it was a hoax, and I’ve been taken for a ride a few times myself.

    As for Slate, I used to read it regularly a few years back, but the content changed and I just don’t find it as interesting as it used to be. Actually I don’t mind the snark, and at times I can be quite snarky myself, but there’s a time and a place for it. Some sites are on overkill. I have a lot of feeds from different sources because like you, I like to read many different views.

  6. As the most shallow of individuals, I get my news straight off the AOL or MSN start screens, with occasional forays to websites of UK, Australian and Canadian newspapers. When I really want to know, I’ll seek out all sources that I can.

    But I also like to read People, In Style and Enquiring Minds Want to Know! in the grocery store, and I watch the Channel 11 news in the morning in Los Angeles – everybody watches Gillian, Steve and Dorothy (local celebrities). It’s not “news” – but then again, it is. I listen to the radio while driving and often hear news bits amid traffic reports and music.

    I haven’t read a physical newspaper much in years and the Los Angeles Times, where I used to work – well, occasionally I’ll see interesting stories with good reporting on the front page while standing at the gas station (one about the Cham people caught my eye a few weeks ago and I actually READ much of it). Newspapers have worked hard to lose the interest and trust of readers, sadly, and I’m one of them that has to be convinced to read and would never currently subscribe without big changes.

  7. Thanks for posting the link to the story, William. I really appreciate it.

    And thanks for letting me know here. I’ve been thinking we need some kind of comment section related to the stories. That’s probably something else for Sarah’s post on what people want to see from BVC.