2 min read

How 2018 Changed my Media Consumption

The last few years have really accelerated the “sound and fury” of news media. I have always liked reading a lot of sources, especially takes that dive deeper than surface level. There have never been more to pick from. Newsletters and Podcasts have exploded, both from single authors, established media, and outfits in-between. On top of that, the day to day flow of notifications and twitter posts are the empty calories of media; they are engaging in the moment but each one teaches little. The small fast pieces prompt distraction and worry. The long, slow pieces help you learn.

In response to all this, I have significantly cut back. The theme has been weekly over daily, long over short, educational over social.

My go to’s

  • Stratechery: Thought provoking analysis about technology business strategy, competition, and regulation. A regular must read. Free weekly article and paid daily updates.

  • The Browser: For excellent, interesting, and very diverse long form article suggestions. I don’t read them all, but I try to read the 4-5 best of republished every weekend. Paid subscription.

  • NYT and WSJ: for basic news notifications and a pulse on the conversation in= the left and right of center.

  • Fox News First daily newsletter: I’m fascinated to see the headlines, and occasional I click in. It’s good to remind myself what others consider mainstream fact (in between calls to my grandfather).

  • Podcasts. A selection: 99% Invisible. Revisionist History. Econ Talk. Conversations with Tyler. The Ezra Klein Show. Waking up with Sam Harris. Memory Palace. Song Exploder. Dissect. Lot’s of long-ish interviews with many guests, but more well-produced entertaining fare too. The interviews saves time and money compared to reading the guests non-fiction books, and let me engage with ideas - many I don’t agree with.

  • A wide range of special topic newsletters that I read less frequently. Several from Axios, especially Bill Bishop’s China focused one. Benedict Evan’s weekly tech roundup.

Things I have cut out:

  • Social media. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter. Logged out on my laptop. Apps deleted on my phone. Twitter is the only one I miss, but not that much as time passed. I dip in maybe once a month. Nuzzel helps, but I do miss some of the analysis that only happens in tweetstorm form from a random collection of strangers curated over time…

  • Most daily newsletters - Axios, the Brew, the Skimm, Vox, NYT, WSJ, FT - you name it, I had it. It’s all too much and very few things are better to engage with daily vs. weekly to really understand them - especially since I’m just curious about the world and trying to understand where we are heading, not actively running the world. I’ll leave that to more experienced people and reality TV stars or whoever.

  • The Economist. It may be the tone; too glib, too surface level.

  • TV News, including the comedy shows (ok, I watch John Oliver still - But the rest I only see an occasional clip. Hasan Minaj’s netflix show may worm it’s way in regularly too.).

Overall, I feel like I spend a lot less time and am learning just as much. Aside from some of the tweetstorm only analysis, I don’t think I’m missing anything and have gained more focus. I’ll keep tinkering in 2019 and see where I get - there is always more to learn.