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 an email exchange with NY1 anchor and New York's favorite Canadian Pat Kiernan.
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I am up at 3 a.m. to be at work at 4. Mostly I start the day with email. I wake up to a morning briefing note from our assignment desk and executive producer, so they tend to point me in the direction of things I need to be aware of immediately. I'm pretty selective about what gets into my email inbox, but I see news alerts from CNN, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal as they come in.
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By the time I do "In the Papers" on New York 1, I've read everything on my list. So what I read first probably isn't much of a factor. The process is a little different for Pat's Papers, because the reach of the web site is national. I choose a lot of New York stories, partly because of my exposure to the papers and partly because they do a great job going beyond their local audience and reporting stories that are of interest to anyone. For NY1, I always read the papers in print. There's a lot of information that the editors of a newspaper communicate by the placement of stories and the size of headlines that you don't get when you see something online. For PatsPapers.com, I'm reading papers from across the country, so much of that happens on their web sites. But I also get the print versions of dozens of them through PressDisplay, and I rely on that heavily.
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When I'm on the anchor desk in the morning I'm surrounded by media. In addition to the screens that show our outgoing program, I have six screens under my control. If there's an incoming live feed I'll tune to that channel so I have an early warning when the event is about to begin. But otherwise those TVs are tuned to our competitors. I watch a lot of CNN and Today in the morning without sound. My computer is always open to email, Twitter, and the wire services. And before I go live and during breaks I'm consuming four newspapers in their entirety (NYT, NYP, NYDN, and WSJ) and another half a dozen at a glance.
I tend to go where the news leads me—but my frequent stops if I'm looking to get caught up are The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Gothamist, Gawker, the Daily Mail, and The Globe and Mail for my fix of Canadian news. I'm driven more by content, but my list of favorites leans heavily to the newspapers I read every day: the Thursday tech columns from David Pogue, Walt Mossberg, Katie Boehret, and Ed Baig are on my must-read list. I often highlight Jim Farber's music stories. Michael Riedel and Pat Healy on Broadway. Joe Nocera's columns often catch my eye on business, as does Ron Lieber. In addition to his reporting on TV, David Hinckley is about the only reporter who seriously pays attention to radio. The Times's media team provides me with must-read stuff, most notably from the ubiquitous Brian Stelter. I may or may not agree from one day to the next, but Andrea Peyser, Michael Goodwin, Mike Lupica, and Joanna Molloy are all good for a provocative viewpoint. I associate Corky Siemaszko's name with impactful lead paragraphs on the lead story in the Daily News. Matt Flegenheimer is a Times writer who has caught my eye recently—he has a take for plugging into reaction to a story through Twitter and delivering a fresh angle. I'll stop there, but I'm sure I'll remember a dozen others an hour or two from now.
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In print, I get pretty much everything delivered to me at NY1. At home I subscribe to the Times, New York Magazine, Time, Fortune, and Entertainment Weekly. I'd like to subscribe to People but they price their subscriptions higher than anybody else and I cancelled on principle.
I worked for CNN (while working at NY1) for several years, so they're still my go-to network for national news. If I'm not busy with homework and dinner I'll turn on Brian Williams at 6:30. And if I'm still up at 11:00 (which happens way too often) I'll flip on one of the local 11 p.m. shows—either on WABC, WCBS, or WNBC.
As for TV, the only thing I've been clearing my schedule for this fall is Homeland. It's a fantastic show. We watch Modern Family most weeks. I've been a religious viewer of American Idol for many seasons, but I'm not sure about the one coming up. I'm reaching my saturation point with singing contests and the ever-changing lineup of judges has tarnished the Idol brand. I have a weakness for game shows, so I tend to sample whatever's on in that genre. I drop in on Millionaire and Jeopardy occasionally, and I always try to check out at least a couple of episodes of any new game.
More than ever I sample bits and pieces of content based on what my Twitter and Facebook friends are recommending. On one hand, this exposes me to sites that I've never seen before. But it also raises a caution flag. A web site I've never seen before isn't one of my standard trusted sources of news, so I've got to be careful with that if I'm going to be re-reporting something.