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 an exchange with Anna Quindlen, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of 13 books.
I consume media geographically, starting at the breakfast table with a nice mix of carbs and protein, sacred and profane: The New York Times, Post, and News, and The Wall Street Journal, all four in their pre-tech form. I was once a copy girl and I still like paper and ink. I can't say I read all four exhaustively, but I do hit the headlines and concentrate on certain stories on a need-to-know basis.
Late morning I move four flights up to my home office, which is where I do my online newsgathering. I have bookmarks for The Huffington Post, Daily Kos, Politico, and the Times and Washington Post Web sites. I also read Romenesko, the inside-baseball column of the news biz, and the FT, which now provides some of the best coverage of American politics.
My world is divided into those people who won't admit they read Gawker, and those who will; I'm in the second group. I also read an extremely clever and well-written fashion website called Go Fug Yourself. I even write the two women who run it mash notes when they're especially good. I hate the way people in the news business act as though all their site surfing is high-minded.
End of the work day and I'm back downstairs in the dining room, back in print. The magazines have come in the mail: Newsweek, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and, yes, People. I read them all, as well as Fortune and Runner's World. I watch one of the evening newscasts, usually NBC because I think they have the deepest bench. After dinner my husband and I turn on MSNBC: Olbermann, Rachel Maddow. It's preaching to the choir, but as members of that choir we like being preached to. During the presidential election I watched Fox a lot because I thought I should know what their people were saying.
Books in bed--that's how I always finish the day. I read very little nonfiction now that I'm not writing a regular column, although I just finished Game Change, which I thought was much more serious than the news reports suggested. When I'm revising a novel I always read mystery fiction: Henning Mankell, Denise Mina, P. D. James. The rest of the time I read whatever galleys I've been sent, and I reread the classics. Right now I am rereading Moby Dick alongside a new nonfiction book called The Whale. I don't have a Kindle, although I may reconsider because of a nightmarish trip during which my only airport newsstand option was a paperback by a writer who seems to have italics and exclamation points permanently programmed into his computer.
I like my Blackberry just fine; I've heard the proselytizing from iPhone users but I have no need for a program that will tell me the name of the song I can't quite place, and I'm never signing with AT&T. I have no interest in Twitter and I long ago promised our children I would not join Facebook. I suspect I am a typical reader and writer of age 57, with one foot in the world of old media and another in the new.