How do people deal with the torrent of information pouring 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 Christiane Amanpour, anchor of ABC's This Week with Christiane Amanpour and board member of the International Women's Media Foundation.
When I get up, I switch on NPR and listen to the radio because I find the form extremely useful for absorbing information. I hear the hard news and the pieces on the bigger issues, which is a great way of anchoring the day.
At 9 a.m., BBC World Service comes on. I've been listening to BBC radio my whole career. It's been a constant companion on the road ever since I was dispatched to cover the Gulf War in '90-'91. They give you not just the hard news but features that spin off the hard news in all sorts of different ways. Plus, really great interviews. Another part of my morning is checking internal ABC e-mails that track over night news and wire reports.
My go-to news sources are ABC's The Note, The Economist, The Week, Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, particularly for foreign news, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, the online offerings of Foreign Policy, The Huffington Post, The Daily Beast, Politico's Playbook and YouTube for videos.
The Economist, in particular, is a terrific weekly digest of what's happening around the world. The features, the book reviews, the special reports, the leader page: It's an excellent, excellent synthesis and analysis of the most important issues of the day. I like that they're neither overtly left or overtly right. I would say they're centrist-conservative. It's a publication with a sensible center and solution-oriented approach. And those are the sorts of publications and documentaries I like to get my information from.
A good example of this was a recent NPR report on the Environmental Protection Agency. Lately, the idea of doing away with the EPA has been popular in some circles. Now what does that mean? No one really knows what that would mean. But you can go on NPR and get a report on exactly what the EPA has done over the last several years putting all those political slogans into context. Another example was a great NPR report on Ayn Rand the other day. She's the author of Atlas Shrugged and the current spiritual adviser of many conservatives about the role or lack of role of government. It was fascinating, absolutely fascinating to hear her background to hear her biography and to listen to her interview with Mike Wallace from back in the 1950s.
I think some of the most incredible information comes from documentaries. Whether its Frontline or POV on PBS or wonderful nature programs like Frozen Planet, The Blue Planet or Planet Earth. They are awe-inspiring in the truest sense of the word and show the incredible complexity of the ecosystem.
I don't have much time for sitcoms or things on TV. I really like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, however, because they have a completely indispensable take on the news especially when they poke fun at us—we in the media.
I use Twitter and Facebook for work. I don't do much personal stuff. I like to point people to articles and issues about the world outside the U.S. because I think there is far too little information about the world in the mainstream media. I've spent years reporting on the world and I know people are wondering how they should view the Arab Spring or Afghanistan or Iraq or women's rights in the Middle East. I like to point people to those issues.
Another issue I have with the mainstream media is how women journalists are portrayed. I specifically joined the International Women's Media Foundation because I feel very strongly that women in this profession need to be encouraged as they face an unbelievable glass ceiling. I try to support my female colleagues around the world whether in Iraq or Afghanistan or Russia or South America. It is really a dangerous profession and I mentor a lot of young women face-to-face or by e-mail. In this country, there isn't a single woman president of an American news organization. Women are portrayed in a far too frivolous way in the U.S. media. Ideally, they would not be portrayed by the depth of their plunging neckline or hair but on the content of their work and their passion.