Tuesday, January 3, 2012

One source of news is stupid ... and unnecessary

All news media, whether it be print, broadcast, or internet has one primary goal (and a bunch of subordinate goals). The primary goal is to sell advertising. This isn't necessarily bad. Without the advertising they couldn't pay for the people and other expenses involved in reporting the news. As long as you remember that this is the case, you can factor it into your analysis of what you read, see, and hear.

The secondary goals should also be considered. Unfortunately few news outlets or individual reporters are looking to earn a Pulitzer. If they were, we'd have much better reporting. You need to do real journalism to win a Pulitzer. Even with the different political and social leanings of the US news outlets, when your news comes from even a collection of them, you aren't getting a well-rounded perspective.

Because you have access to the internet, you have access to the whole world of news outlets. I started adding their feeds to my Yahoo portal page for investment purposes. I look beyond the US for investing and need to know more about what is going on in other countries and regions, beyond what I was finding in US sources.

Once I started following these, I started seeing important news events that were not being mentioned in the US news. Just like other news sources, you have to remember what they are in business for and what their biases are, but the more sources you have the more the biases get balanced.

All significant news sites have an RSS feed. If you haven't used these before, you might have to do a little reading, but if you already have a news portal like Yahoo or Google, they are pretty much automatic. Go to Google and look for xxx news, where xxx is a region, country, or even city. Check them out for a couple of days before adding them to your news portal. You have choices, so don't just grab the first you find. Once you have them, you don't need to spend much more time than you do with a US-only feed. You can scan the headlines just as you do today, and then read details selectively. You might consider:

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