How do other people deal with the torrent of information that pours down on us all? Do they have some secret? Perhaps. We are asking various people who seem well-informed to describe their media diets. This is drawn from a conversation, edited for clarity and length, with NBC News' chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell, who also hosts Andrea Mitchell Reports on MSNBC.
When I wake up, the first thing I check is the BlackBerry or iPad. If I'm doing Morning Joe or The Today Show, we're talking 5 a.m. I'll turn on MSNBC and scan what's on the air and then I checkout MSNBC's First Read and any breaking political news. By 5:30 or 6:00 a.m. I've got the print edition of my newspapers so I read them the old fashion way.
I subscribe to The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Times, Financial Times and the tabloids (New York Post and the New York Daily News). The FT is really essential for its analysis of global economics and political trends.
Online I check out Bloomberg News, the Daily Beast, my Twitter feed, Politico, Drudge and other competing networks. I also read the tabloids and Gawker when I'm looking for segments that aren't predictable. Their coverage of Anna Chapman and the Russian spies was fantastic. I'm not sure I've actually taken a story idea from Gawker but I like how they visualize their stories with pictures and video.
The magazines I subscribe to are National Journal, Newsweek, The Weekly Standard, The New Yorker, Time, Vanity Fair and the Economist, which is the best edited, best written collection of foreign reporting. As for the New Yorker, anything David Remnick writes, I read. And Jane Mayer is truly a brilliant investigative reporter. And I can't leave out George Packer.
I used to read the Los Angeles Times, the Baltimore Sun and the Philadelphia Inquirer every day but I don't really have time for that anymore with the blogs. Interestingly, I don't think the Internet and political blogs have hurt television news. TV news has evolved in really positive ways. Our storytelling has gotten better. Our use of pictures has gotten better. When I look at older reports from back in the day they seem awfully static. You may not have as many people watching an individual newscast as you used to but you're seeing your audience online. On the downside, in the '90s, we had bigger budgets and more resources in more places shooting more of our own stories and relying less on agency video. Now all of us tend to parachute into regions when they blow up but we should probably be spending more time focused on them when they're quiet.
I think Al-Jazeera has become indispensable. There's a big difference between Al-Jazeera overseas and Al-Jazeera English but they are clearly part of the story and I rely on them very heavily, as does the State Department. I think the channel ought to be available more widely in the U.S. given the work they've been doing in Tunisia, Libya and certainly Egypt.
As for Twitter, I love Mark Knoller. When he was the only reporter with the president for that open mic moment last week, that was great. I also closely follow Chuck Todd, Savannah Guthrie, Luke Russert, Bryan Stelter, Mike Allen, Chris Cillizza and John Heilemann. For television, I watch Masterpiece Theatre, our primetime shows, Hardball, Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O'Donnell, PBS News Hour, 30 Rock, The Daily Show, love Jimmy Fallon, love SNL, love Stephen Colbert. I'm liking Upstairs Downstairs. My trainer loves Charlie Sheen's show. I just don't get it.
The last things I read at the end of the day are books. I'm reading Martin Fletcher's new book, which hasn't been published yet. I'm re-reading Three Cups of Tea. I'm also reading Jim Lehrer's first non-fiction book in 20 years called Tension City. It's about the presidential political debates over the years and also hasn't been published yet.
If I have one gripe about the blogosphere, I sure would like to see less about Donald Trump. I just think that in this hyperactive atmosphere heavily-influenced by blogs we're paying entirely too much attention to people who are not candidates and not intended to be candidates.