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 Amy Walter, political director at ABC News.
The first thing I check in the morning is my BlackBerry for external and internal emails. Then I switch between Twitter and the newspapers on my iPad. (Most people don't really get going on Twitter until 7:00 or 7:30 a.m.) I'm embarrassed to admit that I'm reading newspapers online while my actual newspaper sits outside on the front step but we have it because may partner is committed to physical paper and she'll open it up it later. My main reads are The New York Times, The Washington Post, Politico, The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg, which will sneak in great stories that you'll miss if you don't check it.
Politico's strength is in its process stories: what's happening behind-the-scenes and on the campaign trail. The Times and The Post I look to for coverage of the Hill, whether it's the legislation itself or the process of the legislation. I also go to The Post for the big picture takes on the campaign trail and The Times' Caucus blog for hour-by-hour election coverage. Bloomberg and The Times have been great for investigative stuff digging into campaign advertising or the finances of a corporation or candidate.
On Twitter, I'm just looking for what's new and often it's not a news article. On Friday it was the Quinnipiac poll, which wasn't a news story, it was a press release. Sometimes it's a new ad that was posted over night. I like my news with a side of funny and it shows in who I follow. Dave Weigel is hilarious and smart. Roger Simon, same. I also follow Nate Silver, Chris Cillizza and our off-air reporters like Emily Friedman, who covers Romney, Elicia Dover, who covers Gingrich, and colleagues like Jon Karl, Jake Tapper and John Berman.
When I get that all done, I start my commute at about 8:15 a.m., listening to NPR in the car and dialing in to conference calls, which I'll have you law-abiding Virginia/D.C. people know, is via a hands-free Bluetooth device (unfortunately, I do have to dial in with my hands). At work, I have this great news division so I'm getting a tremendous amount of information from internal emails. I also have the TV muted in the background.
One of my favorite journalists is The Times' David Leonhardt because he makes really complicated things, like the intracies of health care reform or the economy really digestible. I also enjoy Dan Balz at The Post who does a good job taking us out of the weeds and into the big picture. Maggie Haberman at Politico always has good stuff and is a very good Twitterer.
For TV, I'm a Mad Men fan so I'm very much looking forward to the spring. I hope they don't disappoint. I was addicted to Glen Close in Damages. Sometimes I feel like I'm the only person in my demographic who doesn't watch Friday Night Lights or Downton Abbey but I'm sure I would like both. I'm a big Modern Family and 30 Rock fan.
What I don't have time for is sycophantic journalists or one-sided bloggers. I just want to read about the facts, the reality on the ground. A lot of people complain about all the self-promoters in Washington. It sometimes makes me chuckle. Do you know what town you're living in? This place is all about self-promotion. Still, I do feel that there are people who are good and smart but don't have a strong self-PR plan so they get lost and that's really too bad. That's why I like this feature. There are a lot of people out there who you read who may not be on television or all over Twitter or Page Six but they do an excellent job in their work.