Fandango’s Provocative Question #120

It’s a really good question and one which we actually bat around in this house, probably because Garry spent his life as a television reporter and I did some time reporting too. It was easier back in our day. We didn’t have to contend with social media. Bloggers weren’t considered “reporters.” And a reporter was required to adhere to truth as it is commonly understood.

So here’s the question:

For us, the answer is pretty easy. I get online copies of the Washington Post, The New York Times, and National Geographic and a hard copy of The New Yorker.

We watch the national news as well as some local news. Garry is still pretty well-connected with a variety of working and retired colleagues, so when something interesting or different comes up, he checks with people who are still working, people who know people and whatever sources he knows. Between what he can dig up and reading, we collect a lot of information.

We don’t watch Fox News. Ever.

The Washington Post has some brilliant writers and when they work at it, their articles make me wish I’d written them. I can say the same thing about the New York Times. Not everything written — in both papers — is equally good. They have stringers who are okay writers and some who aren’t particularly good, but when they put together a major piece, it’s usually top of the line. I get a lot of background (and some good laughs) from The New Yorker. And much to my surprise, a great deal of very interesting background information about everything going on in the world in National Geographic. It’s nothing like the magazine was when we were growing up. It covers current science, facts, and does it with style and the absolutely most amazing photography I’ve seen anywhere.

We also watch TV news, but most of the news that I trust I get from the newspapers and magazines. Also, while I don’t subscribe to it, I do get a daily summary from Bloomberg. Whatever you think of the man, his news is news. Facts, figures, and detailed information.

Between all of these sources — all of which are mostly objective — I think we get a good idea of what’s going on and what it means. I also get a lot of information from online friends I’ve met as commenters on my blog. This is how I find out how people who live in Australia, Switzerland, England, New Zealand, and elsewhere feel about stories that are sweeping the world.

I don’t read as much news as I did when you-know-who was president. We don’t have a national calamity twenty times a day and at least one before breakfast coffee, but I do like to pick out the stories which interest me and this can vary from day to day. It’s also how I read blogs. I look for either someone who always interests me or an idea that piques my interest.

I ration the amount of news I read. I need to leave some time to write my own stuff, too.

Categories: #FPQ, Anecdote, Daily Prompt, Fandango's One Word Challenge, Provocative Questions

Tags: , , , , ,

9 replies

  1. Although you wrote that ‘bloggers aren’t reporters’, you and Garry are still my personal go-to source if something newsworthy has happened. I know you’ll give the facts ma’am and just the facts with no gilding. So for me, it’s you guys or nothing. Although I do take the Washington Post (another piece of good information you gave me). I have to quibble a little bit with the ‘best photography’ being in National Geographic. Yeah, they have professional photographers and their photography is stunning, but I’ve said before that in my opinion, your own photography is just as stunning.


    • Thank you! It’s not that I don’t take nice pictures, but the quality of the pictures in NG is amazing. This is where being a professional makes a difference. They put a great many hours into their photography and for it to come out looking as good as it does on paper is a big difference from how pictures look online. It is a much higher level of quality.

      We do check our sources and if I can’t check sources, I won’t publish. Unless I have a direct source — I saw it myself or someone close to me has seen/experienced whatever it is — I need at least two other independent sources. Sometimes, even that isn’t enough especially if it is a sensitive issue with possible legal repercussions. But we do try our best.

      The Post and the Times both have a middle to left slant, but they are both able and willing to call out people from any party. They have standards and they stick to them. Newspapers were always Garry’s backup sources when he was working because print reporters had much more time to research a subject than do TV reporters. He got an hour or two to get the facts whereas they got, in those days, often weeks to do deep research. These days, there are so few newspapers on the market, I have no idea how their reporters do their jobs.

      It’s a hard world for reporters these days. Working reporters — not desk reporters who get fed their information and mostly sell their opinions — but the men and women who go out into the world and do real digging for their information are very hard workers. Long, long hours in harsh weather and sometimes real danger. I know people think they work 3 minutes a day because that’s how long a TV report (really, most reports take even less time than that) stays on the air, but the amount of time they put into producing that 2 or 3 minute piece is a longer than you can imagine. And now, with them all fending off social media and reporting not only for on-the-air news, but also for their online news, I don’t know how they get it all done. Garry used to work 10 to 14 hours a day. I wonder how the new crews get any sleep at all.


  2. Because the print is too small for me to read, I don’t consult newspapers. I depend on BBC for my news reports. Never, ever the biased Fox.


  3. Well – There seem to be fewer and fewer objective purveyors of facts these days. I spent my career travelling the world. One of the best papers I ever read (and I prefer written news, which is another subject altogether) has always been Süddeutsche Zeitung. It used to be a wonderful source (I haven’t read it lately as it is not easy to find here in NM). I hope it’s still flying the flag of truth.


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Tish Farrell

Writer on the Edge



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