Where do you get your news? Diversifying sources while minimising breadth of content

inetrnet-news-reader-hi

Every morning my dad receives a copy of The Australian rolled up and shrink-wrapped on the front lawn. For many years he also got a copy of The West on Saturdays and given The Australian is a little too-far-right for him he also gets a day-old copy of The Age delivered once a week. He’s a newspaper man.

As a Gen Y-er I am not a newspaper woman. I am a digital news fiend.

I’m consistently excited about the prospect of a new, independent news outlet and access a number of outlets via different mediums.

For a bit of bog-standard daily news I get the New Daily in my inbox. This superannuation-funded news outlet sends me about ten articles per morning, which I generally try to read on the bus to work.

For informed commentary on current events and research I get The Conversation sent to my work inbox. The Conversation is a news outlet run by a consortium of research institutions, with all content written by academics.

I then head to Facebook to see what people are talking about – I get insights into what’s happening in feminist issues via News-Corp based Daily Life, snarky political commentary via Junkee, and some more political stuff from New Matilda, if I have time I’ll read longer form articles via The Guardian. I read The Shovel for a great satirical laugh. I keep up with local Fremantle news via The Fremantle Herald. I read whatever someone else posts that might be interesting – light stuff from Buzzfeed etc.

I then head to RenewEconomy for Australian energy news and Energy Collective for international energy news. If I’m feeling gutsy I’ll head to Bloomberg New Energy Finance and read some market updates.

If I get home in time I’ll watch the ABC news, 7:30 and on Monday nights 4 Corners.

The first thing to notice is that this is an AWFUL lot of news. I would estimate that I spend about three hours a day accessing the news.

The second thing I notice is that I read about the same issue over and over again. I like to read about something important from at least two news sources to check for accuracy. The truth is that while there are more news outlets everywhere, the journalists are just as overworked everywhere. Everyone is working off the same media releases, door stop interviews and international news associations. And also, obviously, all my news sources are left-leaning, which gives them all the same slant to begin with. Furthermore Facebook will send me articles they think I will like, which will be based on articles I’ve liked in the past, creating a vortex of articles I like but are all potentially similar.

I can’t help but wonder what this means for my beloved news. An increasing homogenisation of content to please the ‘clickers’ in the digital world. Reduced traffic to individually trusted news sites, which means reduced advertising revenue and thinner margins. Increased pressure for journalists to publish articles that will be ‘Liked’ and liked. The potential for further homogenisation of news.

And a whole world of stuff happening out there that I never hear about.

Alternatively, I’m super happy that I don’t have to go outside and get frosty toes picking up a resource-consuming newspaper that’s difficult to fold and overtly right-wing.

 

(Clipart can be found here)

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