How do other people deal with the torrent of information that pours down on us all? What sources can't they live without? We regularly reach out to prominent figures in media, entertainment, politics, the arts and the literary world, to hear their answers. This is drawn from a conversation with Erick Erickson the editor-in-chief of Red State and a CNN contributor.
Before going to bed around midnight, I'll put the outline together for the email newsletter that I send out to folks early in the morning. At 4 a.m., I'll finalize it and make sure there hasn't been any big, breaking news since that time. Then I'll get it out the door forty five minutes later.
After comes my own email: I get around 2,500 per day, so in the morning I'll clear out my overnight messages--which is a task in and of itself--and see what news stories there are. Typically what I do is leave my web browser open with links to all the big things that look like they're going to be relevant and then I'll go back and get in bed until about 7, when my two year-old comes in and wakes me up.
When I wake up, I'll see if anybody at Red State decided they want to hit the top story of the day and, if not, then I'll typically write something. Usually before I go to bed I try to think of the stories to write in the morning for the website. In the morning, I'll either knock those out the best I can or refer to them to one of our contributors. If I know there's going to be a press conference or something I'll email my radio producer to try to capture the audio.
At my desks I'm bouncing between three screens. I have an iMac with a 27-inch screen, my MacBook Air and my iPad. Soon I'll have another screen: a second 27-inch monitor to view my email, Twitter stream and web browser more efficiently.
Online, the websites I usually gravitate toward first are The Drudge Report and Google News and from there The New York Times and The Washington Post websites. Then I'll go to go to Kausfiles, Instapundit, Power Line, and delve into places like Slate, The Los Angeles Times (and check Andrew Malcom's column) and Real Clear Politics, which is a pretty good aggregator of what people are writing and also just a good jumping off place. As far as email newsletters go, Roll Call is probably the one I depend on the most. I get a lot of newsletters, but it's the one I look for in my email.
Now even more with my iPad, I get breaking news from The New York Times app and The Wall Street Journal app (the only one I pay to subscribe to). I'm spending more time on my iPad than I ever thought I would. My favorite app--and not just because I'm being paid by them--is CNN's because of their live video.
On Twitter, the signal-to-noise ratio is kind of out of whack and I've actually shrunk the amount of people that I follow. A few of those news sources I follow are Stephen Hayes, Mark Preston and Brett Baier. With Jake Tapper and Jamie Dupree, I'll actually pull up their streams individually to see what they're talking about. Aside from Twitter, other social networks factor into my day less and less. I've started paying more attention to Google+ because there are fewer people on there and most of them I'm connected to are at the center of both technology and politics--so they're linking to relevant news from my perspective.
RSS is still a big part of what I do, it's just a habit of mine that I've kept for awhile--including marking everything as "read" before going to bed and also scanning everything that comes in the next morning and periodically throughout the day.
That said, I do read in print. Probably every other day I'll head down to a little coffee shop down the road and just sit there reading the local Macon Telegraph, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution or The Times. There's still something I like about having paper between my fingers.
As far as books, I haven't bought an actual book in print in probably a year now. But I get them on the Kindle store on Amazon for my iPad. Recently, I've made my way through a couple biographies: 1864: Lincoln at the Gates of History by Charles Bracelen Flood and then the biography of William Pitt the Younger by William Hague. I find historical biographies interesting, largely because I've become of the opinion that most pundits on the internet and TV forget that politics existed before November of 2000. I really do subscribe to the notion that there's nothing new under the sun--a lot of what we're seeing now is stuff that we've seen in the past.
When I do get free time, I'll check out The Pioneer Woman--I'm addicted to that website. I've got a lot of tech sites that I like to read, some of which are Daring Fireball, TechCrunch, Gear Patrol, Engadget and Gizmodo--although since their redesign I've been reading Gizmodo less and less.
The end of my work day is usually after my radio show is done at 10 p.m., and I'll try to leave the office by 11. That's when I'll literally pull up all the tabs on my web browser and just flip through them to see if there's any flashing news alert. If it's stuff I've already seen, then I'll close the the tabs very quickly and then leave the office--and carry my iPad upstairs and keep surfing Twitter.