I should admit that I am an extraordinarily lazy consumer of news.
I read through the Wall Street Journal every day, but mostly because I can read it on my iPad while pretending to pay attention in class or while stuffing my face during a given meal of the day.
After I wake up, I usually skim through five newsletters that are delivered to my phone’s email inbox: Politico Playbook, WSJ’s CFO Journal, the CFR’s Daily News Brief, Brookings Alert, and the Economist’s Editor’s picks. Don’t be too impressed — I only read these so I can stay in bed for an extra 15 minutes every morning.
My rampant Twitter use is the epitome of my laziness. When I’m procrastinating, at least I can procrastinate somewhat productively as I look through tweets from my favorite feeds — Slate, Business Insider, Quartz, ESPN Stats and Info, among others.
Maybe I’m exaggerating the degree to which my news consumption relies on my laziness. After all, I genuinely enjoy reading and I like to keep up with the goings-on of the world. But I am comfortable saying that I would not be nearly as well-read if news media wasn’t as accessible as it is today.
When I was growing up, my news consumption was generally limited to one newspaper (the Philly Inquirer) and one website (CNN.com). Why? Because it would have taken a lot of effort for teenaged Bobby to acquire additional newspapers or to discover alternative news sites.
These days, the costs (in time and effort — and to a certain degree, in money) of consuming news are significantly lower. I can afford to read through one newspaper cover-to-cover while picking and choosing stories from a diverse selection of news outlets.
I pick up stories based on a news outlet’s specialty. I keep up with the financial world by reading WSJ, Businessweek, and Quartz because their financial reporting is the best of the best. In the same way, I update myself on news from Washington through my favorite sources for policy news: Washington Post’s Wonkblog and publications from think tanks such as CSIS, Brookings, and CFR. For sports, I follow blogs and beat-writers; I can’t stand the rest of the dross churned out by the mainstream sports media.
I can afford to read from so many sources because of the accessibility of news media today — because of Twitter, email newsletters, and mobile apps. It really is a golden age for news, and definitely a golden age for lazy consumers of news.