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Criticism, Publishing

Speaking Ill of the Dead, Part 2

So where do you get your news? Take a poll and let’s find out.

The changes in journalism wrought by evil Frankie Magid probably would have occurred anyway. If not him, some other marketing genius would have realized that dumbing down the news would pump up ratings. Forty years later, the challenge, for those who prefer in-depth, unbiased reporting, is where to find good journalism. Certainly not on your local TV news program, and probably not in your local daily newspaper (unless you get the NY Times, Washington Post, LA Times or a handful of other august, and failing broadsheets).

For me real news is a moving target. When I was younger I read magazines like Newsweek and Time. But recently a friend sent me a link to a Newsweek story. Although the topic was of some interest, the writing had been clearly diluted to appeal to “everyman.” Ostensibly it was a story about the quest to write the great American novel, but it was filled with “the best,” “the biggest,” and other non-specifics. And it was about a quarter of the length it should have been to really cover the subject. I knew the mass market journals had changed, but since I haven’t read Newsweek (outside of a doctor’s office) in years, I wasn’t sure how much.

Other, formerly trusted news sources are also caving to the demand for entertainment value. I watched “60 Minutes” last week and was amazed to see they included not one, but two full personality profile segments. That’s thirty out of the sixty minutes devoted to unabashed ass-kissing, plus commercials, plus Andy Rooney (and who knows what he’s talking about anymore).

So now I get my news from more esoteric sources like The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The NewsHour, Nightly Business Report, The New York Review of Books and others. Heavy stuff perhaps, but good for you.

I am curious as to where others turn for information. I’ve created a little poll, so please take a moment and let me know if there’s still hope for intelligence, or if I should give up and start watching cartoons. You can click as many answers as apply, and you can enter specific sources in the “Other” box.

Poll removed


About Joe Ponepinto

Co-publisher, with Kelly Davio, of Tahoma Literary Review. Author of "Curtain Calls," a featured Kirkus Review. Married to Dona. Dad to Henry, the coffee-drinkin' dog.


6 thoughts on “Speaking Ill of the Dead, Part 2

  1. I used to watch the NewsHour. Leave it to PBS to be one of the last television news programs that gives you just the facts.

    But, I have to admit that I’ve switched in the last few years to internet news. It’s just so much quicker: read the headlines, click a link if the headline is interesting.

    Posted by cpurcel1 | February 18, 2010, 6:00 PM
  2. NPR, National Public Radio…how could you leave this off as a choice.

    Also CNN for headlines (CNN-Head Line News for Michael Jackson coverage and pictures of cute animals.)

    Then I chase down the interesting stuff on the net. Usually more pictures of cute animals. Did you see the Dachshund dressed in a tutu climbing a ladder whilst chasing a butterfly that turns out to be a bald eagle who swoops in and grabs the doxie, eventually carrying it back to its nest where it raises it as its own? Sounds humerous until the puppy tries to fly. Thank God for the tutu.

    Posted by jonzech | February 19, 2010, 1:51 AM
    • Actually I do listen to NPR, but I was trying not to appear too left wing. All I have from the other side is WSJ, and if you don’t read the reactionary editorials, it’s not that biased.

      Posted by jpon | February 19, 2010, 2:01 AM
  3. What an interesting post – and the poll is great. I’m with the person above who mentions reading online headlines (I subscribe to NY Times online) and then clicking on articles that intrigue me. Side benefit is no ink on my fingers and no recycle to deal with… Thanks for this today!

    Posted by kobbie | February 19, 2010, 4:40 PM
  4. …but mostly news is what I choose it to be. I make my news up in my head as I go along. It works for me. Pity about that wood chipper accident involving Glenn Beck.

    Posted by jonzech | February 20, 2010, 1:44 AM
  5. About 80% of my news consumption is from NPR. The remainder comes from various online mags like the gaurdian. I guess I have no problems appearing left wing, because it’s pretty much what I am.

    I think this post was timely and relevant, and I appreciated reading it, as well as the comments. And the poll is pretty neat!

    Posted by moondaria | February 24, 2010, 9:26 PM

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