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Getting the News — Megan Garber

(This post is part of News.me’s ongoing series, “Getting the News.” In our efforts to understand everything about social news, we’re reaching out to writers and thinkers we like to ask them how they get their daily news. Read the first post here. See all of the posts, from writers and thinkers like Anil Dash, Khoi Vinh, and Gordon Crovitz, here.)

To kick off 2012, we interviewed Megan Garber, assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab. Next week, she’ll be a staff writer at The Atlantic. But today, she’s answering questions about how she reads the news. Megan writes about the future of journalism for a living, so we had to ask her where she thinks journalism is heading — and what she’s missing from her news consumption.

1. Describe how you get news throughout the day. What’s the first thing you check when you wake up?

The first thing I’ll check in the morning is Twitter — which has pretty much replaced my old standby, RSS. (I use Tweetdeck, which allows me to check streams from both @NiemanLab and my personal account.)

Beyond that, I’ll usually visit Mediagazer, Poynter, and, now, Romenesko at least a few times over the course of a day to check in on the biggest stories of the moment. Techmeme, as well. I’m also a regular at The Atlantic’s Tech channel, which covers media innovation in the context of technology more broadly. (I’ll be writing for them starting in January.) And for even more in-depth future-of-news news, one of the best resources I know of is Nieman Lab’s Fuego, a Twitter bot that aggregates the moment’s most talked-about stories among the meta-media crowd. It’s a great, efficient way of staying current with the media zeitgeist.

Beyond those, though, there are fewer and fewer sites that I’ll visit directly at this point; most of what I get, I get from Twitter. The main exceptions are The Awl and Gawker, which I have bookmarked for those occasions when I need something brain-clearing and/or fun to read, and The New York Times, which has been my various browsers’ homepage for as long as I can remember.

I’m also big on email newsletters; one of my favorites is the daily link-list from 3 Quarks Daily, which my editor, Josh, turned me on to, and which curates assorted smartness from around the web. And I always look forward to the Brainpickings email on the weekend; it’s generally more evergreen than newsy, but is consistently fantastic.

2. What publications or news sources do you read and trust? How frequently do you visit them throughout the day?

Though I’m not systematic about it at all, I’ll usually end up — through social media and the aggregators I mentioned — at HuffPost, The Atlantic Wire, CJR, the New York Observer, Slate, the Guardian, the New Yorker, HiLoBrow, NPR, Reddit, New York Magazine, the Paris Review, Gizmodo, or some combination of those in a given day. GOOD has been doing some especially fantastic stuff of late, as has Mother Jones. That said, though, I’m generally (and increasingly) excited about topics more than I am about particular publications; one of the things I appreciate about social media platforms (and their general treatment of users as curators) is their ability to combine filtration and serendipity within the content they provide. With each link, you never know quite what you’re going to get … but you can pretty much assume it’ll be good.

I also get a lot of my information — particularly the week-in-review type content — from podcasts, which I’ll listen to while grabbing lunch or on the commute home. Shows like On the Media and Slate’s Gabfests offer great roundups and analysis of the week’s events; for more lighthearted stuff, I’m a big fan of Marc Marron’s WTF and NPR’s Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me, and — of course — standbys like This American Life. The Philosophy Bites podcast is consistently provocative and occasionally delightful. And (even farther afield from breaking news!) iTunes U, with its free lectures from universities across the globe, is one of the most valuable — and, from what I can tell, under-utlized — information services on the web.

3. What platforms do you read/get content on? Are you into reading content on your iPhone or tablet, or do you still remember how to unfold a newspaper? Do you ever watch television news programs?

This is a horrible thing to admit, given that I cover digital media, but I am (still!) a paper-holdout. I almost always have a book or magazine in my bag; when I’m on a plane or waiting in a long line or otherwise in a situation that lends itself to nomadic reading, my impulse is to turn to them rather than to my mobile devices. I like the tactile quality of paper-based reading; I like the way that, say, a New Yorker can roll in your hand or spread on your lap as the situation requires. I also almost always have a pencil with me — I think I’m one of the few people left who uses the mechanical version — and I like the easy note-taking that print reading allows. Over the years, I’ve developed a weird, nerdy shorthand (lots of symbols, asterisks, etc.) that probably looks like chicken scratch and/or insane ravings to anyone who might come across it, but which is in fact pretty perfect for marginalia … and uniquely awful for digital note-taking, particularly with touchscreen keyboards. Though I’d love a system that makes digital notation as easy as analog, I’ve yet to find anything that beats a yellow Bic pencil and an empty margin. (ProTip: Never loan me a magazine.)

And I don’t watch TV news anymore — local is too depressing, and national is too infuriating. (Unless you count The Daily Show or The Colbert Report, that is, in which case I watch TV news all the time.)

4. What was the last great article you read? How did you find out about it? Is this your typical pattern?

Popular Mechanics had an incredible piece recently recreating the final moments of Air France’s Flight 447, based on recently recovered black boxes. Not only is the article remarkable for its ability to inject tension into a story whose ending we know all too well — a state-of-the-art airplane, brought down by bad decisions and even worse luck — but it’s also almost allegoric in its scope. A story of the convergence of powerful technology and frail humanity, told in a way that lets tragedy, and humanity, speak for themselves.

I discovered the article through Longreads, which — along with Longform.org — is a stellar source of engaging, engrossing articles across subject areas.

5. Is anything missing from your news consumption pattern now or in the tools/sites that you use? Anything you wish you had?

I wish I had a better, more dynamic web archiving system. I still use Delicious, and rely on it pretty heavily … despite that, though, I often find myself frustrated with the reductiveness of the tagging system: Read an article, tell Delicious that it’s about The New York Times and also paywalls and also business models, that it’s by Mathew Ingram and via GigaOm, and move on. I could make myself a more detailed tag taxonomy — and occasionally do — but the overall system isn’t really one that invites either expansion or nuance, particularly when it comes to the vague, tag-resistent concepts that are often the most interesting and important to save. I’d love a service that allows for the relatively dynamic and connection-oriented capture of content — an archive for the semantic web. Delicious, only tastier.

Getting the News — Gordon Crovitz

(This post is the seventh in News.me’s ongoing series, “Getting the News.” In our efforts to understand everything about social news, we’re reaching out to writers and thinkers we like to ask them how they get their daily news. Read the first post here. See all of the posts here.)

This week we talked to Gordon Crovitz — former publisher of the Wall Street Journal, co-founder of Press+, and an adviser to several early-stage media and technology companies run by people he says are ideally “half my age and twice as smart.” Gordon still writes the weekly “Information Age” column for the Journal, and is an invaluable source of insight on the evolution of media. Here’s what he had to say.

1. Describe how you get news throughout the day. What’s the first thing you check when you wake up?

I’m old enough to remember that in the analog era, before the web or 24/7 information in any medium, everything I read in the morning was new news. Now I already know the key news of the day before I wake up: The new biological rhythm for news consumption starts the day before. In the late evening, I always go to WSJ.com, which by then reflects what will be in the next day’s newspaper, to get advance word on what I need to keep in mind for the following day.

2. What publications or news sources do you read and trust? How frequently do you visit them throughout the day?

During the day my news habits include a few destination web sites such as WSJ.com, NYTimes.com, and FT.com, but also my Twitter feed, which is especially valuable since I mostly follow people whose posts include links to news and information that will be of interest to me. Twitter also allows me for the first time to have a good sense of what my friends and colleagues are also thinking about. Most of these links on Twitter are to journalistic sources, either from branded publishers or bloggers I follow. Then I follow other sites that are a mix of original reporting and smart aggregation such as Business Insider (disclosure: I’m on the board), AllThingsD and PaidContent, with the occasional visit to a broader aggregator such as Drudge Report to be sure I haven’t missed anything.

3. What platforms do you read/get content on? Are you into reading content on your iPhone or tablet, or do you still remember how to unfold a newspaper? Do you ever watch television news programs?

The device depends much more on where I am than on anything else. At the office, I’m usually using a browser on my desktop, so the consumption is chiefly web sites. If I am out of the office, I use my iPad — often as a browser rather than using specific iPad apps — or my smartphone, which I am embarrassed to admit is still a BlackBerry (my defense is that I can type 60 words a minute using the great BlackBerry keyboard). My favorite news apps on the iPad are Flipboard and News.me, which are both great ways to consume news, especially from Twitter feeds. At home, I usually use my my MacBook Air since one of my young sons almost always will have claimed use of my iPad. We do get two print newspapers at home, and I do enjoy reading the Wall Street Journal in print, but the other 23 hours of the day I’m likelier to access a digital version.

4. What was the last great article you read? How did you find out about it? Is this your typical pattern?

Sometimes great articles are in very traditional sources — Peter Wallison explaining the continuing banking crisis in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Larry Downes explaining what’s wrong with the analog-era mission of the Federal Communications Commission during this digital age in a blog post at Forbes.com, or the expose of insider trading in the news pages of the Washington Post, for example. Others are great blog posts on specialized sites like TechLiberation (a wonky free market-oriented technology blog) that I check regularly. Often I find great articles thanks to Twitter: One of my rules is that if three of the people I follow link to the same article, then I always read the article, too. This is the new serendipity.    

5. Is anything missing from your news consumption pattern now or in the tools/sites that you use? Anything you wish you had?

Too much of my news consumption is still information presented to me as if I didn’t already know it. This is true of most newspapers, which still focus too much on what happened yesterday when I know what happened yesterday yesterday. It’s also true of too many web sites. I’d like to find more sources that offer context, perspective, and a smart look at what the news means for tomorrow. News readers designed for the tablet such as Flipboard and News.me are early in their evolution, but already compared with traditional web sites are more intuitive and faster ways to access news feeds.

Getting the News — Ken Fisher

(This post is the sixth in News.me’s ongoing series, “Getting the News.” In our efforts to understand everything about social news, we’re reaching out to writers and thinkers we like to ask them how they get their daily news. Read the first post here. See all of the posts here.)

Today we’re featuring Ken Fisher, founder and editor-in-chief of Ars Technica, one of the web’s leading tech publications. Early on, Ars distinguished itself with highly educated authors and sharp commentary, and in 2008 was acquired by Condé Nast. Ken is a brilliant and critical thinker — he holds two masters’ degrees from Harvard, and in addition to his work at Ars, he’s writing a book on online communities and the changing landscape of property and business on the web. Ken’s immersed in media issues daily, so we asked this self-described “cranky Editor” how he gets the news.

1. Describe how you get news throughout the day. What’s the first thing you check when you wake up?

When I first wake-up, the most important news is in my inbox, accessible to me by whatever phone I am using at the moment. I’ve checked it within five minutes of getting up, probably while I am brushing my teeth. What’s there? From there, I usually load up AP and scan headlines. I’m still pretty groggy at this point, and I may walk right into a wall while trying to turn a corner reading the AP.  At this point in my day, I’m looking for day-altering news. I don’t read much at this hour, I just mostly note its existence.

2. What publications or news sources do you read and trust? How frequently do you visit them throughout the day?

Since I’m the Editor of Ars, I’m pretty much on a news site all the time, namely, Ars. I don’t get to read much news from elsewhere during the day. I normally have a spate of discovery at lunch, but generally I’m a “flag and read later” guy, with later usually being quittin’ time.

I’m a skeptic by nature (to say nothing of being a cranky Editor) and so its difficult for me to describe my relationship with any news source as ”trust.” That said, I believe that the Financial Times, the Christian Science Monitor, the New York Times, and the BBC are all top notch. The Wall Street Journal is usually excellent, except when it’s not. Why these news organizations? They’re all very light on the fluff, very good about corrections, typically very well edited, and properly researched.

In the tech space, I don’t get to enjoy the work of others nearly as often as I like. When I do, I tend to read the hardcore tech news, and not the speculation, gossip, cheerleading cycle that’s out there chasing after mainstream readers. There’s none I read on a daily basis, but it would be rare for me not to have read some AllThingsD, Tested, BoingBoing, and The Register over the course of the week.

3. What platforms do you read/get content on? Are you into reading content on your iPhone or tablet, or do you still remember how to unfold a newspaper? Do you ever watch television news programs?

Most of my work is done in Windows, and most of my reading in Chrome.  I don’t like reading on my iPad, frankly. I strongly prefer the Kindle, although I am happiest with Kindle Reader on a PC. I read Barron’s weekly, in print. It’s the only paper I still read, part of a Saturday ritual.

I’ll read on an iPhone or Android phone, but I won’t savor it. It’s better than nothing, but not a great experience for me.

4. What was the last great article you read? How did you find out about it? Is this your typical pattern?

The last great article I read was this piece [“The Research Bust,” in the Chronicle of Higher Education] about the broken system of higher ed in the United States.

Nate Anderson passed me the link. Really, our virtual office (and IRC channel) is where I find the best stuff, because we have such a diverse and well-read staff. I am a firm believer that the best stuff doesn’t show up on people-powered aggregators at scale. At least not yet. It still pays to just know people with a passion for knowledge.

5. Is anything missing from your news consumption pattern now or in the tools/sites that you use? Anything you wish you had?

I wish there was an aggregation website out there that somehow could filter out the claptrap that currently dominates them, while still having plenty of content. The closest destinations I know of fitting that bill today would be specific sub-reddits on niche topics. Claptrap can be fun, but it’s usually also sloppy, and more often than not, irrelevant. It’s a crying shame when that stuff takes up mental bandwidth and serious work sits unread.

Alongside this, I’m ready to throw in the towel on RSS. More convenient than reading the web, it’s also completely overwhelming and frustrating to work with. No one seems to mind, either. The state of RSS readers is one of stasis.

Getting the News — Anil Dash

(This post is the fifth in News.me’s ongoing series, “Getting the News.” In our efforts to understand everything about social news, we’re reaching out to writers and thinkers we like to ask them how they get their daily news. Read the first post here. See all of the posts here.)

This week, we interviewed Anil Dash, founder of Expert Labs, co-founder of Activate, and publisher of dashes.com. Anil is a social media master, constantly looking for new solutions to global problems through media interaction. He’s both hilarious and thoughtful at his Twitter account, @anildash. He’s also an adviser to several startups and a United Nations Social Media Envoy. With all of this experience and insight, why wouldn’t we want to know how he reads the news?

1. Describe how you get news throughout the day. What’s the first thing you check when you wake up?

I have a fairly baroque set of news-gathering rituals, most of which formed in the early days of blogging, especially when I used to maintain a link blog. These days the newest parts of my reading habit are that I check my Twitter and Facebook streams (of course), then go into Stellar.io, which is a site my friend Jason Kottke (of kottke.org) made, which tracks what content my friends have favorited across Twitter, Flickr, Vimeo, YouTube and other sites.

I also go into ThinkUp, the open-source app that our team at Expert Labs leads the development of, and it has a view that shows me links posted by my friends on Twitter. Finally, I check out things I meant to catch up on that I’ve saved in Readability to revisit later. I also get a lot of stuff emailed to me or sent by friends via instant messenger or direct messages throughout the day.

2. What publications or news sources do you read and trust? How frequently do you visit them throughout the day?

These days, my affinity is more for sources of curation than for particular publications, but I trust friends like Jason Kottke’s kottke.org or John Gruber’s Daring Fireball or Andy Baio’s Waxy.org to curate a lot of what I’m interested in. I tend to check Google Reader infrequently these days, and always love diving in to the Ask MetaFilter Q&A section of MetaFilter. Each of those is a daily visit, and it’s telling that most of those have been around for a decade.

3. What platforms do you read/get content on? Are you into reading content on your iPhone or tablet, or do you still remember how to unfold a newspaper? Do you ever watch television news programs?

I read a *lot* on my iPhone, which is why I’m so gung-ho on Readability. I almost never read print anymore, which is amazing because I remember when I started my first company I would constantly be going to the newsstand because I read two or more magazines every day, along with the newspaper. I of course am reading in the browser all day every day, and try to consume as much as I have time for, and I do own an iPad, but that’s mostly just used to check in on Mixel and Words with Friends before I go to sleep.

I hate, hate, hate television news. Hate it. I stopped watching it entirely after 9/11 and hadn’t turned it back on for more than a year after that for any reason. Even now it makes me frustrated and angry and annoyed, even just in the short doses I get when I’m passing through an airport or whatever. I think it’s generally irresponsible and destructive to society.

4. What was the last great article you read? How did you find out about it? Is this your typical pattern?

This is a *wonderful* question! It’s hard for me to say what the last great article was that I read — I see so many! But I can pick an example, Jamie Zawinski’s rant about venture capitalists and his words being used to justify overwork.

I know jwz a little bit, but mostly know him through having read his blog and LiveJournal for more than a decade. When this piece came out, I felt like I saw it everywhere at once — on Facebook and Twitter (and thus Stellar) immediately from a number of my friends, via IM and DM from people who knew it’d be of interest to me, in my Google Reader from people sharing it, on TechMeme for the rare times I check that site, and linked in several other blog posts. I am still very biased towards getting information through the filter of blogs I trust, so the sudden pervasiveness of that piece really exemplified how great personal blogs can have outsized impact.

5. Is anything missing from your news consumption pattern now or in the tools/sites that you use? Anything you wish you had?

There is still so much to do. I think almost every major news site is dropping the ball on community, allowing all kinds of misbehavior and animosity in their comments while doing little or nothing to encourage the formation of real communities of interest. In blogs, I see a lot of stagnation and complacency as formerly great bloggers pour their ideas into abbreviated messages on social networks that they don’t own, instead of investing in creating content that will have a long, meaningful life which inspires conversations.

The tools are still primitive — we don’t enable sharing by default in contexts where it *could* be useful. While I love (and happily paid for) Pinboard, I also like the Delicious model where sharing bookmarks is something social. I think the transition of many users from Flickr to Instagram is costing us a lot in terms of a shared and relatively open context for connecting around photos. At the same time, mislabeled efforts like Facebook’s “frictionless sharing” (which actually *adds* a lot of friction to sharing) are complicating the simple experience of sharing web links, by polluting it with the installation of unnecessary apps. That’s going to yield terrible long-term effects on the willingness and interest that people have in exploring new content on the web.

In short, the tools need to be more social, but in an authentic and open, uncontrolled way. We’ve traded gatekeepers that sell us irresponsible news (like broadcast TV news) for gatekeepers that sell us to advertisers while allowing community to degenerate to the lowest common denominator (as with Facebook or YouTube). I think there can be a better way, and I’m hoping News.me and others play a part in it.

Getting the News — Jeff Sonderman

(This post is the fourth in News.me’s ongoing series, “Getting the News.” In our efforts to understand everything about social news, we’re reaching out to writers and thinkers we like to ask them how they get their daily news. Read the first post here. See all of the posts here.)

This week, our interviewee is Jeff Sonderman, Digital Media Fellow at the Poynter Institute. Jeff blogs and trains journalists about using social media and mobile technology for better journalism. He has worked as a reporter and editor at print newspapers and as a community engagement specialist and editor in online local news. Jeff’s always got his ear to the ground looking for the latest innovations in news. We pinned him down for a few minutes to ask him how he stays informed.

1. Describe how you get news throughout the day. What’s the first thing you check when you wake up?

I grab my iPad pretty much as soon as I wake up to start catching up on the news through a handful of apps, RSS feeds and websites.

Over breakfast I usually turn the TV on to ESPN or "Morning Joe" on MSNBC, depending on whether sports or national news seems most interesting that day. 

After breakfast, I switch over to my MacBook Pro in my home office and start checking e-mail alerts and newsletters. All day I have Facebook and Twitter clients loaded in browser tabs that I check frequently. During the day I’m mostly prowling for work-related news stories and blog posts I might write about for Poynter. I’ll often use Instapaper or extra browser tabs to save the stories of personal interest so I can read them later.

Later in the day I’ll return to the iPad and read more casual or personally interesting stories. I’ll often watch a recorded version of “The Daily Show” and might check in on a cable news show briefly in the evening, to see if anything huge broke since I tuned out at work.

2. What publications or news sources do you read and trust? How frequently do you visit them throughout the day?

Maybe I’m in a small minority here, but I still use RSS for a lot of things. There are a few news blogs or writers who I follow directly by subscribing to their RSS feeds — GigaOM, Mashable, TechCrunch, paidContent, Nieman Lab, plus a lot of official company blogs and some smaller sites or personal blogs of really smart journalism and tech people. I also subscribe to a lot of local community bloggers like ARLnow and Clarendon Culture that keep me up to date on everything happening where I live.

But RSS isn’t just for following websites. I also use feeds from Google Alerts, Delicious tags and Twitter searches to pull in more obscure things that I wouldn’t normally see.

There are a few websites I still visit directly once in a while just to see what’s going on there — NYTimes.com, Reddit, All Things D, Forbes. Obviously, I read everything on Poynter.org.

Other than using RSS and visiting a few staple sites, much of my news I discover through other filters — iPad apps that aggregate news and recommend stories I’ll like, links posted to Twitter or Facebook, or services like The Tweeted Times that analyze my social networks and summarize what my friends are sharing.

3. What platforms do you read/get content on? Are you into reading content on your iPhone or tablet, or do you still remember how to unfold a newspaper? Do you ever watch television news programs?

I don’t subscribe to any printed newspapers or magazines. I do read some of those sources digitally, but in most cases printed news seems inadequate — less timely. interactive and sharable than digital, and lacking links to source information or further context.

While I’m working I end up reading a lot of articles on my laptop screen, but whenever I have the option I read articles and e-books on my iPad. It’s just a much more comfortable, portable and distraction-free reading experience.

I find I don’t actually spend much time getting news on my Android smartphone, but before I had an iPad I did use my phone a lot more for reading and news browsing on the go.

4. What was the last great article you read? How did you find out about it? Is this your typical pattern?

I don’t recall a specific article, but I’d say 9 times out of 10 if I find a “great” article it’s through Twitter or Facebook. My other feeds and filters are good at finding a lot of relevant and interesting stuff, but social networks seem to set a higher bar. An actual person who I follow has to read the article first and decide it’s impressive enough to share — that’s a pretty strong signal to me that it’s worth looking at.

5. Is anything missing from your news consumption pattern now or in the tools/sites that you use? Anything you wish you had?

Two things come to mind. One is that our news system largely lacks an awareness of what I’ve already read, or what I already know, on a subject. Unlike a newspaper or magazine that has to be printed once for mass distribution, digital news can and should be more flexible. Each person should see a report tailored to their interests and knowledge, instead of reading the exact same thing everyone else gets.

The second thing I find missing are measures of quality and style of an article. In many ways it’s a great thing that anyone can publish content online, but it also means we need much better filters to find the content we want. Right now many sites and services match content to my interests by topic, but in the future we’ll need automated measures of how well written, original or authoritative one post is compared to another.

Getting the News — Anthony De Rosa

(This post is the third in News.me’s ongoing series, “Getting the News.” In our efforts to understand everything about social news, we’re reaching out to writers and thinkers we like to ask them how they get their daily news. Read the first post here. See all of the posts here.)

This week, our interviewee is Anthony De Rosa, social media editor for Reuters and founder of the extremely popular tumblog Soup. We were following Anthony’s tweets closely on Oct. 20, when Moammar Gaddafi was overthrown and killed, and subsequently wrote an overview of how the news broke that day. He did an incredible job of using the medium to get the news out, and we wanted to know more about how he stays informed.

Describe how you get news throughout the day. What’s the first thing you check when you wake up?

First thing I check is Twitter. I scan it to see what I might have missed overnight and what is breaking in the morning. On the train into work I’ll catch up on articles I Instapaper’d and when I get into work I’ll scan our Reuters wire for news that’s starting to come in early. Muckrack is the best email newsletter I get, and it’s a good rundown of what’s happening early on in the day.
 
What publications or news sources do you read and trust? How frequently do you visit them throughout the day?

Aside from our own Reuters news, I’ll go and read The Atlantic which does a good job at gathering what I need to know from all over, I’ll scan the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Guardian, Al-Jazeera, BBC, CNN, and niche sites like Politico, SB Nation, Mets Blog, All Things Digital, and Gawker’s network of sites (in particular Gizmodo and the main Gawker). I have a RSS reader filled with these sites and more, but I tend to go directly to them. My RSS reader helps me find what I might have missed or a site I might forget to check. I like to read sites across the political spectrum to challenge myself. I don’t like to get into an ideological rut and want to be informed about what all sides are saying. I visit the big sites, the first seven I mentioned, several times a day, especially to see how they’re all reporting a big story.

What platforms do you read/get content on? Are you into reading content on your iPhone or tablet, or do you still remember how to unfold a newspaper? Do you ever watch television news programs?

At work I’m on my desktop all day, but at home I tend to use my iPad and prefer to take that with me on the road as well. I’d say a majority of the longer form reading I do now is on the iPad. I don’t have enough time in the working hours to spend reading long pieces but I will read them later on the iPad, either at home or on the train.

On the weekend, I like to read a real physical newspaper, I like to sit on the couch, grab a coffee and relax and spread the newspaper out and read it. That’s the only two days, other than the amNY or Metro I read on the train sometimes, where I’ll dig into a paper newspaper. I watch a lot of television news. Tends to be CNN but I’ll sometimes see what MSNBC, Fox News or Current TV has on. I watch all the political shows on Sunday along with Howard Kurtz on “Reliable Sources.” If I’m not around or busy I DVR them and watch later.

What was the last great article you read? How did you find out about it? Is this your typical pattern?

The last great article I read was a great scoop by one of our journalists, Jim Finkle, about how the NSA is helping banks fight hackers. I am aware of what our journalists are working on ahead of time, so I had a heads up.

If you want something from a non-Reuters journalist, I really enjoyed David Carr’s piece [in the New York Times] on how executives at media organizations are making obscene amounts of money and it’s hurting the ability to staff great journalists in the newsroom. I found out about it from Twitter, from someone I follow who saw David’s piece and sent it into my feed.

Is anything missing from your news consumption pattern now or in the tools/sites that you use? Anything you wish you had?

I wish Twitter was able to package all the great bits of information and present it in a more narrative format. I think Storify is helping to do that, and it would be cool to see them partner up and allow Twitter users to create more fully formed stories using social media in that way.

I also wish there were better live-blogging tools available. Some of them are pretty good, but they’re missing an element that allows me to quickly and easily grab the media I want to use or the formatting of the live blog is just not as sharp as I’d like.

Sharing (your Daily Digest) is Caring

Over the last few weeks, a few of you have noticed that your News.me Daily Digest is available online at http://www.news.me/[your_username]. Some of you have even started sharing that web view with your friends on Twitter and Facebook, encouraging them to explore the news flowing through your Twitter stream. 

Today, we’re releasing an update to the web version of the News.me Daily Digest that makes it even easier to explore what others are reading — for everyone from friends and family to web celebrities like Tim O’ReillySteven JohnsonNicholas KristofArianna Huffington, Fred Wilson, and Steve Case.

When we launched a complete redesign of the News.me Daily Digest a few weeks ago, we told you that the News.me Daily Digest helps make your morning news review more efficient. We look at the news content flowing through your Twitter stream for the last 24 hours, and send you an email with the must reads.

As we wrote in October:

There is a lot of phenomenal content on Twitter, but that’s just the problem — there is a lot of phenomenal content on Twitter. With some clever algorithms, we save you the time and energy of wading through all of that content. Our machines do the work so that you don’t have to.

This release is about taking that value and exposing it to an even broader audience. My friend Matt is a tech/media junky with a penchant for entertainment news. He knows that world better than I do, so his Digest is a great place to find news that doesn’t tend to show up in my Twitter stream.

Similarly, I don’t know Nicholas Kristof personally, but as a columnist for the New York Times, his view of the world provides a fascinating way to explore the news.

So go ahead, take a look at your own Digest at news.me/[your username], surf through some of our Featured Users, and if you haven’t yet, get your own!

Editor’s Picks — Nov. 18, 2011

Here are some conversation starters for this weekend, curated by me from around the web.

Obama’s Flunking Economy: The Real Cause,” by Ezra Klein.
What happened to the promise of Barack Obama’s presidency? Ezra Klein investigates.
New York Review of Books.
Nov. 24, 2011.

The End of Cheap Coffee,” by Zak Stone
Climate change and your daily cup.
Good
, Nov. 16, 2011

A Conspiracy of Hogs: The McRib as Aribtrage,” by Willy Stanley.
The economics of McDonald’s.
The Awl, Nov. 9, 2011.

Rebecca Corian: Lost at Sea,” by Jon Ronson.
When Rebecca Coriam vanished from the Disney Wonder in March, hers became one of the 171 mysterious cruise ship disappearances in the past decade. So what happened? Jon Ronson booked himself a cabin to find out.
The Guardian, Nov. 11, 2011.

The Fracturing of Pennsylvania,” by Eliza Griswold.
Fracking divides a community between those who profit and those who pay the price.
The New York Times Magazine, Nov. 17, 2011

I Survived a Midnight Showing of Twilight: Breaking Dawn, Part 1,” by Scott Meslow.
A man with no prior experience of Twilight braves opening night.
The Atlantic, Nov. 18, 2011.

Here’s a Thoroughly Annotated Slideshow of ‘The Simpsons’ Food Episode." [slideshow]
Eater, Nov. 14, 2011.

Enjoy!
Sonia

Getting the News — Khoi Vinh

(This post is the second in News.me’s ongoing series, “Getting the News.” In our efforts to understand everything about social news, we’re reaching out to writers and thinkers we like to ask them how they get their daily news. Read the first post here. See all of the posts here.)

This week we’re pleased to feature Khoi Vinh (@khoi), former design director at NYTimes.com, blogger at Subtraction.com and co-founder of Mixel. Mixel is the world’s first social collage app, designed to connect people through media in a totally new (and fun!) way. Given his expertise on the intersection between social media and design, we thought we’d ask him about his news habits.

Describe how you get news throughout the day. What’s the first thing you check when you wake up?

I’m a dedicated Google Reader user. I start off in the morning checking my favorite feeds on GR using the awesome Reeder app for iPad. Over the course of the day I read GR directly in the browser. I’ll also graze Twitter frequently, and pick up the items that I find interesting as they arise. In the evening I will skim NYTimes.com. I don’t visit a lot of news sites.

I also listen to NPR every morning, and get the majority of my general news from there.

What publications or news sources do you read and trust? How frequently do you visit them throughout the day?

NYTimes.com is pretty much the only one destination site that I return to regularly, and then usually only in the morning or the evening. The rest of my news consumption is a combination of professional reading — TechCrunch, All Things D, Hacker News, etc. — and recreational reading on topics I enjoy, like film, art, sports, comics, etc.

What platforms do you read/get content on?

iPad, iPhone, podcasts, desktop browsers. Email alerts for a few key topics that I want to stay on top of, but no mobile alerts or anything.

Are you into reading content on your iPhone or tablet, or do you still remember how to unfold a newspaper?

I used to read the paper when I was working at The New York Times, and I genuinely enjoyed it, but when I left I realized I didn’t have to do that any more and found that I don’t really miss it.

Do you ever watch television news programs?

Never. We don’t have cable at home, but even if we did, I find the news networks — Fox News obviously, but CNN as well, to be unbearably phony.

What was the last great article you read? How did you find out about it? Is this your typical pattern?

The best articles I read are almost always from The New York Times. The rest of the stuff I consume is just informational; the Times offers insight.

Is anything missing from your news consumption pattern now or in the tools/sites that you use? Anything you wish you had?

I wish I had a mobile solution that went beyond just peppering me with updates. I would like to keep up with some key stories without being constantly interrupted with alerts. I don’t feel that I need to be connected to a story nonstop, but at the same time I would like to be able to check in to a news story from time to time while on the road. None of the mobile apps right now make that easy.

Getting the News — Robin Sloan

Welcome to News.me’s ongoing series, "Getting the News."

In our efforts to understand everything about social news, we’re reaching out to writers and thinkers we like to ask them how they get their daily news. (Read the first post here. See all of the posts here.)

This week, our interviewee is Robin Sloan (@robinsloan), media partnerships manager at Twitter and writer. We met Robin at TEDxPoynter, a conference attempting to answer the question, “What is the future of news?” Robin’s view in his presentation with his colleague Matt Thompson was both creative and optimistic. “The future of journalism is everywhere.” You can see his presentation with Matt, The Storm Collection, here. With that in mind, we thought we’d ask him how he reads the news.

Describe how you get news throughout the day. What’s the first thing you check when you wake up?

The first thing I check is my text messages, because I get calendar alerts and a few select Twitter feeds via SMS. I also tend to have conversations with close friends via SMS, not Twitter DMs or anything like that.

What publications or news sources do you read and trust? How frequently do you visit them throughout the day?

The New York Times is the only news site I visit directly every day. I’ve been typing that URL into browser address bars since college, so I guess it’s a habit. I also end up at The Atlantic and Wired at least once a day — but that’s most often via a tweet from someone I follow. All the rest are stashed in Google Reader, and I tend to plow through them once every couple of days. Foreign PolicyNieman Labio9, Danger Room, Galleycat, Kill Screen, kottke.org, 50 Watts — I’ll catch up on everything in great huge gulps.

What platforms do you read/get content on? Are you into reading content on your iPhone or tablet, or do you still remember how to unfold a newspaper? Do you ever watch television news programs?

I’m a laptop guy. No paper for me; no TV either. My iPhone and Kindle both get a lot of use, but mostly for Twitter and fiction, respectively. If it’s news, it’s on my laptop screen.

What was the last great article you read? How did you find out about it? Is this your typical pattern?

The last great article I read was Sam Anderson’s Haruki Murakami profile in the New York Times Magazine. I found it via the New York Times Magazine's RSS feed, and it's via RSS that I find most of the #longreads I truly love. The NYT Mag, the New York Review of Books, the Paris Review and more are all basically plugged directly into my brain.

Is anything missing from your news consumption pattern now or in the tools/sites that you use? Anything you wish you had?

Memory. It’s too easy to read something great… and then forget it in a week. So I’d like an easy way to return to articles that I truly loved, maybe six months or a year later—some sort of time-shifting tool that could politely present them to me again.