Welcome to the Information Age. As anyone who has fallen victim to an internet spiral knows, wading through the new media universe can be disorienting. To examine this modern discipline, the Atlantic created a series titled “Media Diet” to give their readers a peek over the shoulders of journalists, broadcast news personalities, authors and politicians to see how they manage today’s inundation of information. Here’s a glimpse at the essentials of a few media members’ media diets:
Hugo Gordon, editor in chief of The Hill, turns to his social media feed to find his must-reads: “Facebook is more interesting because it’s more likely that I’ll see an interesting article from an unexpected source. It’s often a more thoughtful or analytic or data-driven read.”
Anne Friedman, freelance writer, says she reads fiction for pleasure. “I think it makes me a better writer to read fiction … I also read the Sunday newspaper in print. That’s a pursuit that is 100 percent for me.”
John Oliver, HBO’s “Last Week Tonight’s” host, likens himself to a “Google deep sea diver” and says he doesn’t regulate his news consumption. He says he visits aggregate websites in the early morning before he starts his deep dive research.
Shani O. Hilton, deputy editor in chief of BuzzFeed, starts her day with local broadcast news: “I think people kind of underestimate the value of network morning talk shows in their ability to convey news and what’s trending, what’s happening.”
David Granger, editor in chief of Esquire, also says he values reading a hard copy of the newspaper: “I find when I read it on my iPad the emphasis is all off. You never know what’s important. I love reading the actual newspaper, you get emphasis, you get a sense of what the editors think is important at the moment.”
Like journalists, PR counselors have insatiable media diets. On top of our routine reading lists, we regularly dive into new media terrain for special projects and new clients. John Oliver’s quip about Google deep sea diving hits home for us. Managing today’s inundation of information is an art, and when it comes to extreme media consumption, here are tools we use to ensure that we’re staying well-read without compromising our efficiency.
Pocket: We rely on this bookmarking app’s Chrome extension to save articles to read later on our favorite binge reading device, the iPad. This is especially useful when we have large amounts of news to digest when we’re ramping up a new project and need to come out the gate well-versed and ready to pitch. We also use Pocket to save after-hours reading material, like the masterpieces featured on Longform.org.
Feedly: To feed our voracious media diets, we turn to RSS services like Feedly, though there are many others available. The day Google pulled the plug on its RSS service is a day that will remain in infamy for many media professionals. Let’s not talk about it.
Evernote: Evernote’s Chrome extension and web clipping functionality is excellent for easy, intuitive note taking during intense media download sessions. It’s also a handy place to keep track of new words learned along the way.
Even with these power user tools on our side, we can’t read everything. That isn’t to say we don’t try. More often than not, our compulsive reading habits, both for business and for pleasure, compound to make us better, more creative counselors with well-rounded world views.
Nicole Burdiss is a senior account executive in Stratacomm’s Detroit office.