Monday, April 14, 2008

The Wagon Train of News

Recently, I offered up the various news sources I used to keep myself from becoming too insular -- or circling the wagons as I referred to it.

I got a lot of great suggestions both on- and off-line. Samuel Brainsample in the comments section mentioned some public broadcasting sources, especially NPR's RSS feeds. Personally, I have a hard time with news crawls -- I tend to read them instead of whatever I'm supposed to be working on -- but as a general suggestion, it's a good one.

He also recommends (with various caveats), Talking Points Memo, Brian Lehrer, Glenn Greenwald, Bill Moyers, and On the Media, among others (check out the comment section for "Circling the Wagons").

A friend of mine also suggested Al Jazeera. Like the European sites, I check for European perspectives, its a good primary source for news about the Middle East. And it's coverage of the American presidential election is offering a very interesting perspective as well.

The biggest problem I have is simply one of time. Thanks to the Internet, I could tap into all the primary and secondary information sources throughout the world -- and not get anything else done in the day. Like everyone else, I have to filter the information influx in some fashion.

My goal, though, is to do so in such a way that I don't exclude stories and ideas I don't agree with.

After all, when you circle the wagons to defend your ideology, you don't go anywhere. It's only when the wagon train stretches out, open on all sides that it can move forward. And that's the direction I'd like to keep going.

Any other sources I should consider? Let's keep the conversation going!

- Ralph


  1. I track about 160 feeds in Bloglines, ranging from local news to urban planning, with a lot of entertainment thrown in there as well.

    It takes a lot to go through these feeds, but go through them I do each and every day. Thankfully, Bloglines does all the organizing work for me and so it's not as daunting a task as you might imagine. And now that I can read bloglines on my iPod Touch, it's not nearly as overwhelming as it used to be.

  2. I think I missed the intent of the post.

    Locally, I read feeds of any non-profit that opines in the subject of land use and development. My willingness to read material these days is predicated on whether or not the organization has an RSS feed. No RSS feed means I'm less likely to read it.

  3. Sean:

    I think I wasn't very clear. RSS is absolutely the most efficient way to stay current. My personal problem is with headline crawls on my desktop.

    I've tried it from time to time, but it justs distracts me.

    - Ralph

  4. Anything I can't control is overwhelming. Crawls aren't a good way to get to me, but I will say that one very valuable piece of real estate is the one line of text that's right above my inbox in GMail. I end up reading a lot of things from Wired and Discovery that are also in my RSS reader, but this extra little bit of recognition pulls them out.

  5. I think the one thing we can agree on is that we're both trying to efficiently get through as much valuable information as possible -- as opposed to filtering out anything that conflicts with our world view.

    You've given me some good ideas, and so has our friend Samuel Brainsample. I'll be experimenting with some of these tips over the next few weeks.

    - Ralph