When I was a kid, my family subscribed to two newspapers: the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which came in the morning, and The Pittsburgh Press, which shows up in the afternoon. Most days, I read them both. Not cover to cover, but close.
These days, when I want to find out what’s in the news, I go first to Twitter. I follow news organizations from around the world—several U.S. newspapers, the Guardian in Great Britain, AllAfrica.com—and a lot of journalists and journalism professors, so my Twitter feed seems to always be in the know. It’s the first thing I check when I wake up, and I monitor it at work, too. I couldn’t do any of my jobs—alumni magazine editor, freelance sports writer, journalism instructor—without it.
But I don’t rely solely on Twitter, although it often leads me to interesting and provocative links I would never otherwise have seen. While eating breakfast, I read the local stories in the Centre Daily Times, which is delivered to my door, and I check out Onward State online. I read the New York Times—not every story, but the big ones—on my iPad app. And then I head for the office, where I read The Daily Collegian at my desk.
I spend more time with magazines that come less frequently: Real Simple and The New Yorker. I check out Wired at the office.
I listen to podcasts, too, usually while I’m walking to and from work. I never miss two that really make me think: On the Media, which keeps me informed about the industry, and the Slate Culture Gabfest, which has smart people talking about pop culture and generally being hilarious. I check out two news talk shows, On Point and The Diane Rehm Show, depending on the topic.
I love books. I just finished The Interestings, by Meg Wolitzer, which traces the lives of six friends who meet at an arts camp in the mid-1970s and raises questions about the nature of talent and success, and have moved on to Battle Cry of Freedom, a one-volume history of the Civil War that I bought a year ago while reporting a story on the Battle of Gettysburg. Best of all, my 10-year-old niece just finished the Harry Potter series, so I got to relieve those books—some of my all-time favorites—with her.
Yeah, that’s a lot of reading. I don’t expect that from all of you. But I want to give you an idea of how professional journalists—this one, at least—stay informed.