Getting the News — Evan McMorris-Santoro

(This post is part of’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 Zach Seward, Anil Dash, and Megan Garber, here.)

This week, we wanted to give you a slice of life from the campaign trail. Evan McMorris-Santoro is one of Talking Points Memo's lead campaign reporters for Election 2012. Evan has been following the GOP candidates from caucus to primary, trailing them from New Hampshire to South Carolina, through Florida and to Nevada. Primary season for journalists is so hectic, it’s all-consuming — so the time they spend getting the news has to be as efficient as possible. We hounded Evan into giving us a few precious minutes of his time to tell us how he’s staying plugged in during election season.

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

Lately I’ve been on the road a lot, so sites with excellent mobile content have been my go-tos lately. I always check TPM first to see what my colleagues were working on the day before, and then I’m usually reading a campaign 2012 news aggregation email like Politico's Morning Score or PBS' Morning Line. I forget what I read back before I was covering every minuscule detail of the presidential campaign — is there other news besides campaign news?

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

These days, with the Twitterz and all, it’s more about who you trust rather than where you trust. Like everyone else in this business, I’ve always got an eye on the Tweetdeck and I try to click on everything from reporters I think really know what’s up (hint: start with the people at TPM, and then read what they retweet). Twitter’s also very helpful when I’m on the trail; I can quickly follow what other reporters are the same event I’m at are seeing and writing about.

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 made the switch from iPhone to Android on the first day the first Droid came out and I’ve never looked back. Now I’m on the Droid3, and I’ll get the Droid4 when that (finally!) comes out. So while I’m doing the road warrior thing, that’s my primary source for reading news. And finding directions to local cuisine. And looking at pictures of the cat my fiance sends. And sending pictures of local cuisine to my fiance. Etc…

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

My colleague Nick Martin did a great series of articles on the “Tarmac Tiff” between President Obama and Jan Brewer ["Brewer Has History of Getting Facts Wrong"] that really blew up the existing narrative around the story and dug into the interesting personalities behind it. I’m lucky because I get to watch those pieces come together, so it’s not hard to find them. But while I’m living the road life, I really rely on sites that push their content at you — tweet it, email it, RSS it — rather than sites I just passively browse. Most of my news consumption these days is flipping through the phone over coffee in the morning and then checking Twitter while standing in the back of some library annex or barbecue restaurant (note to campaigns: book more barbecue restaurants) somewhere. So having stuff pushed is key.

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

Advancements in filing technology are what I’m really looking forward to these days. Better systems that allow you to file a blog post on your phone or post a twitpic directly to my editors for blogging would really be gamechangers. I’m not sure why I’m so eager for new ways to feed the insatiable maw that is internet (maybe I should see someone about that) but I’m interested to see how more advanced mobile tools for journalists could change how we do our work.

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