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 friends and colleagues who seem well-informed to describe their media diets. This is from a conversation with Felix Salmon, finance blogger at Reuters.I wake up around eight and I leaf through my two old-fashioned dead-tree newspapers, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, over a couple cups of coffee. Then I check my e-mail and do a vanity search for "Felix" in my RSS reader to see if anybody's written anything nasty about me (I'm hurt when they haven't). I normally try to get one or two blog posts up before I get into the office. I should have done all of that by 9:30 or 10:00.
I read The Financial Times on the Kindle on the way into the office, but I often have a book I'm reviewing, and I often ride my bike to work, so sometimes the FT doesn't get read for weeks on end.
The real meat of what I read at the office is from my RSS reader. I use NetNewsWire and have God-knows-how many hundreds of subscriptions--it might be approaching a thousand. There are three big folders, breaking, financial, and macroeconomics, but the contents of the folders don't bear much relation to the names.
I have different favorites on different days. I find myself clicking on the feeds with fewer unread items. When there are really good bloggers who don't post very often, I will read everything they write. John Hempton, Epicurean Dealmaker, Mike Konczal, Steve Waldman--people like that who have just an unbelievably high hit rate.
I have my laptop running TweetDeck. I have two screens for my official Reuters PC running the Reuters terminal, e-mail and messaging services. And then I have two screens connected to my Mac Mini, which is where I do my real work. The right-hand screen is for the feeds coming in on NetNewsWire and Twhirl, and the left-hand one is for e-mail, web browsing, iChat, PDF documents and drafting blog entries.
The other thing I'm doing throughout the day is tweeting. At the office, there are a couple of twitter aggregators I use: Viewsflow and the Twitter Times. Both aggregate the stories that are most linked to from people I do or should follow. @alea_ is good, as is @moorehn, but really the whole point of Twitter is to aggregate hundreds of streams in one place. The whole is much greater than the sum of the parts.
Do I ever just read Web sites? Frankly, no. I used to go to The Times Skimmer, but then they changed it and added another click to open a link in a new tab.
I always have a pile of books. I have a pile by my bed, a pile on my desk, a book sitting in my bag. Right now I'm working my way through the new Michael Lewis book, The Big Short. I got the new Richard Florida, The Great Reset. That looks really good.
At home, I subscribe to New York magazine, the New Yorker and The Atlantic. I let my Harper's subscription lapse because I found myself not reading it. I keep on meaning to renew my New York Review of Books subscription, but I haven't gotten around to it. I definitely don't read The Economist. I don't like that kind of air of omniscient, Balliol College superciliousness. But I do read Free Exchange.