Ever since I changed my major from aerospace engineering to international relations in college–in 1990, the end of the Cold War was killing aerospace jobs, plus I was pretty awful at calculus–I have been a news junkie. Being on a university campus, it was fairly easy for me to get a variety of news sources, and every day I read the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and the Times of London. I had CNN in the background when I read the LA Times over breakfast, and I’d listen to various international radio stations on my shortwave radio while doing homework at night. I quickly learned that every news source was biased, so it was irresponsible to get news from a single source.
Every source is biased simply because of the stories they choose to cover. No source can cover every story, so they have to filter. Other sources are blatantly biased, but knowing a source’s political leaning can actually make it more reliable, since I don’t have to guess. I do my best to look at sources across the political spectrum, and I try to balance American and international sources.
Today, the internet has made it very easy for me to get a wide variety of news sources on demand. I’ll split them into categories for easy consumption.
I don’t own a television. Mine was stolen three years ago and I realized shortly thereafter that I didn’t miss it. The only time I do miss it is when a major story hits, but when I say “major” I mean MAJOR. 9/11. Indian Ocean Tsunami. Things like that, but those only happen every few years. Frankly, for those things I can go to a bar or a friend’s house and watch.
Having said that, I do follow all of the local television stations on Twitter and click through to their sites when a story is of interest.
I don’t currently subscribe to a newspaper. The only reason for this is that by the time the newspaper hits my driveway, the news is almost (at least?) a day old.
I visit the website for the Chattanooga Times Free Press nearly every day to keep up with local breaking news. I also periodically visit the sites of the New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times (more often during football season to read about USC). Most often, though, I go to newspaper websites through links from other sources.
I listen to the local talk station here, WGOW, but I also listen to the BBC World Service and the CBC on Sirius XM. A couple of times each week I listen to Radio Havana Cuba on my shortwave radio. I use the TuneIn Radio app on my phone to listen to other international stations, trying to rotate through different regions. In the past week I have listened to Liberty Radio in Nigeria, Radio New Zealand International, and World Radio Switzerland. China Radio International and Chennai Live (India) are also regular choices. In the U.S., I listen to American Indian Movement Radio about one night each month.
Besides reading what my friends post on Facebook and seeing what comes across my Twitter feed, I use Feedly to organize the other sites I like for news.
I read Whatever, science-fiction author John Scalzi’s blog, and Frugal GM, a gaming blog by a friend of mine that helps people run their roleplaying games on a budget. I read a few other blogs, but I put them into other categories.
I use this category as a catch-all for things that don’t fit elsewhere. I follow Mental Floss mostly for puzzles and trivia, Jezebel for female-focused news, The Consumerist for consumer and corporate-abuse news, and Information Is Beautiful because they often give me a better perspective on presenting information. National Parks Traveler gives me ideas of where to take Zari next and also lets me know when our National Parks are being endangered or abused. I read Free Range Kids because I think it’s important to raise strong, independent kids who aren’t scared of the world.Atlas Obscura is an interesting site that I normally use to find places to adventure.
PostSecret gives me a weekly view, sometimes humorous, of mental health problems. Why Evolution Is True is self-explanatory, but it gives a solid perspective on science education in schools. I read Christian Post and Friendly Atheist to get both sides of the debate on religion in schools and government.
I like Drew Curtis’ FARK.com. The humorous headlines for real stories often puts the right perspective on the news.
So, if you want to know where I get my views on the world, there’s the not-so-short answer. If you have any recommendations on anything else I should be reading, watching, or listening to, please let me know.
Thanks for reading!