How do you get your news?
With so many news organizations spreading false information and relying on clickbaity titles to get views, it is getting harder to find quality journalism.
So what are some of the resources which you use to get your news without having to wade through a sea of pointless headlines.
I have built my news reading habits around RSS feeds.
I also find that Reddit can be a fairly valuable source for information if you take control of how you access that information. Each subreddit is available as a JSON feed, so what I have done is take those JSON feeds and parse them through a script that converts them into RSS feeds. In this process, I filter the posts based on the number of upvotes, comments, age of the post, etc., with each subreddit having its individual filter settings. The goal is to throw out the junk and only see the good stuff. Works better with some subreddits than others and I need to reconfigure the feeds once or twice a year as subreddits grow and change. I know that subreddits are also directly available as RSS feeds, but parsing the data is easier through the JSON document.
With that said, looking at my RSS reader's subscription list, these are the general news feeds and news analysis feeds that I'm subscribed to:
Reuters: Top News
Wikipedia Current Events
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Caspian Report (YouTube)
Center for Strategic and International Stuides - Analysis
Horizons Blog | Stratfor
Le Monde Diplomatique - English edition
The European Council on Foreign Relations
Christian Science Monitor | World
Global | The Atlantic
Politics + Society - The Conversation
The long read | The Guardian
The New York Review of Books
The Verge - Longform Posts
This is the current setup, but the feed list keeps changing over time as I re-evaluate each source roughly twice a year. For instance, in December I made the decision to unsubscribe from almost all of the "news digest" services that I had been subscribed to, usually through email subscriptions which I had converted into RSS feeds. It just got to a point where I couldn't keep up with the digests and didn't get enough out of them.
In addition to the above, I have set up more specialised feed categories for topics like local news, science news, technology, culture news, artists that I like, sports news, blogs, etc. I also tend to check the BBC news front page a few times a day, just to see if any "breaking news" has happened that won't show up in my feed reader immediately.
Hey that's cool. I have also started writing some python scripts to automate certain things(though I'll admit I am not very good at it) and am constantly looking out for ideas. I think I will also make one similar to yours. Will be a fun side project :).
And thanks for the comprehensive list.
Interesting. I've been trying on and off to automate finding news for more than ten years now, even though I haven't really managed to build something I use consistently. I've tried machine learning based on reddit votes, but that leads to horrible bubbling.
One of my best results is training a model to predict how much success a link will have, and look at the residuals: a post that does well in spite of not using the vocabulary that the hive mind enjoys is more likely to be interesting.
I still have a few ideas, and I feel there is a lot to do in this area, since large players like google or facebook have incentives that are completely opposed to providing quality and diverse news.
Every couple of years, I too go through a phase of thinking about automating things more to optimise the signal to noise ratio. But I always come to the conclusion that the amount of time needed to build and maintain such systems just doesn't make sense for me personally. Instead, I am content building good enough filtering systems and then basically doing the final filtering by myself, manually, as I read through the headlines. And sometimes there is also information, or at least meta-information, to be gained from the noise.
With Reddit, there was a sweet spot in the early 2010s when the website was popular enough to feature a wide range of subjects, but still niche enough for the voting behaviour to not be entirely driven by mass opinion. Over the past couple of years, however, it has become more difficult to squeeze out the signal and so I have increasingly started to move back to individual website RSS feeds and away from Reddit, especially when it comes to more general news and analysis. My RSS feed list now looks much more like it did in the early 2000s than what it was 5-10 years ago.
Back in the late 90s and early 2000s there was a momentum to build services where people who (at least in theory) had actual qualifications curated web content for others. It's sad that this never really took off the way that the more democratic, voting based (and hivemind-like) social media services did. While crowdsourcing and algorithms can help a great deal with discoverability, I think ultimately we are still not at a point where they do anywhere near as good a job as qualified people would. Unfortunately, the economics just don't really work there from an investor point of view.
You are welcome. These days, I primarily use Google Apps Scripts under Google Docs to run my filtering scripts, both for Reddit and other websites. This makes the scripts device independent and always online and don't slow down my own web server, which is where I run my RSS reader, an instance of Tiny Tiny RSS.
Yeah, the latter is also a typo. Should be IRstudies. Thanks, I'll correct!
As someone who went to school for journalism, I can't agree more. It's mostly not important to one's daily life. The exception is weather and local news, and of course the hope is one is taking in SOME info before going to the polls, but that can all be done right ahead of an election - no need to follow it day-to-day.
I follow political news like others follow sports so for me it's mostly entertainment.
People reading this post might also be interested in these previous discussions:
What are your most trusted news sources and why?
Quality news sources
Every morning I read Aftenposten while eating breakfast. Usually the paper from the day before, because the day's newspaper hasn't arrived yet. That's right, I get my news from paper. Crazy, I know.
The big advantage of print media is that since there's no rush for the editors to get the breaking news out immediately, they actually have the time to fact-check and write proper analysis before it has to go to print. This immensely increases the quality and accuracy of reporting.
Or they could create an extra elaborate false news item. Happens here, taking stuff out of context just because they have an issue with the man in power.
I have a problem with the man in power as well but that doesn't mean I will go out of context, were I a journalist i.e.
Where do you live? Are there any respectable newspapers there, or are they all like that?
The Atlantic for good long form
New York Magazine and The New Yorker for great features and journalism
The Daily Beast and SPLC Hatewatch for coverage of the altright / far right / conspiracy theories.
Washington Post for political / national news.
The Hill for more politics plus their energy and environmental coverage is top notch.
I also follow a ton of journalists that I trust on Twitter to stay tuned to different trends and get an unfiltered view of the latest reports.
I need to pick up a print subscription to support my local paper and start donating to NPR.
I can second the Reuters News app, my parents turned me on to it and it's the single video news service I use. It's really nice not having all the fanfare, polish, and "news-as-entertainment" feel of traditional TV news, just basic good reporting of stuff that happened.
Other than that, The Economist podcast and NPR, along with a handful of RSS feeds (mostly tech oriented, and Ars Technica has a fulltext version of the feed if you're a subscriber).
Reddit, HN, and Tildes I'll skim mostly for entertainment and/or discussion, but they're usually faster to breaking news than the other sources.
SmartNews app on Android
I'm subscribed to a French site that doesn't do really daily news but more after the fact analysis, which is really what one need. For basic news I mostly read lemonde.fr, but anything goes, it's more or less the same everywhere. Youtube for analysis also.
Honestly? A combination of social media and "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me".
Hold on, hear me out for a minute.
Most news sources today are just producing fluff. If you consider the entire news market, I'd say that at least 99% of news articles are not worth reading. By checking social media (unsubscribed from any 'news' feeds, of course), I only get the big stories that people are actually talking about. That prompts me to check for a reputable source and find the best reporting on the issue.
For the more trivial things, "Wait Wait" gives me a hilarious overview of what happened that week.
Every morning I get three digest emails: The Guardian, Reuters, and Economist Espresso. I always read Espresso, and try to get to the others. I also have a subscription to The Economist (weekly).
Other than that, I sometimes look at BBC, NPR, PBS, The Conversation, The Diplomat, Vox, and The Week. For opinion/analysis, I go to think tanks, The Atlantic, Foreign Affairs, as well as the aforementioned Economist. Reuters, The Guardian, and ProPublica do good investigative journalism.
I get Ars's Rocket Report every week and The Verge's daily email.
My roommate tells me stuff every now and then.
A carefully crafted Twitter feed, mostly.
I generally avoid popular news sites; I get enough big media content clips via the No Agenda podcast just to know what the general population is sorrily subjecting itself to at the current moment. I also watch RT here and there and listen to the Sunday Wire with Patrick Henningsen who I'd peg roughly as an antiwar progressive type.
Ultimately it's been helpful in curating a collection of a few dozen journalists and cultural commentators I enjoy across the political spectrum, which I mostly access via Twitter. The curated network expands and contracts as new sources are referenced and tested and others reveal themselves as too sarcastic, too strictly performative, or as war apologists.
I don't need to feel like I "agree" with anyone more than about 40% of the time to keep their work on my radar. But if people just seem to be passing along knee-jerk received opinion memes associated with one party or another (as most do), I unfollow them.
Now more than ever, I demand nuance and imagination.