Why and How I Watch The News

I have just been involved in a brief discussion on IRC about my news viewing habits following a brief moan about Channel 4 News' report on the papal conclave. I thought it interesting enough to blog about it (yeah, I am actually that sad).

I basically have three sources for my news:

Google Reader
I have a lot of RSS Feeds which I subscribe to via Google Reader (both mainstream sources like The Guardian and specialist blogs like Groklaw), I tend to scan the headlines and read any that grab my attention
Social Media
regardless of the number of feeds in Google Reader, Twitter (and to a lesser extent Facebook) can often give me stories quicker and in more depth and from sources I don't already know
TV News
when I am at home I will usually make the effort to watch Channel 4 News, an hour long nightly news programme

I watch Channel 4 News because it (usually) is able to give some greater depth than other nightly news programmes and takes a more sceptical position as a result.

I find the watching the news and seeing the stories behind the headlines I otherwise skip over is very helpful. It allows me to contextualise the other headlines I see that I skip over because they're not my area of interest. It allows me to better judge what is going on outside of my twitter echo-chamber. I learn a lot more.

It is also good to see journalists in action: moderating a debate or asking the awkward question. Seeing a politician having to answer live and without a PR official to smooth things over. This is all important, as important as the extra depth and analysis I get to read on my specialist blogs.

Sometimes though Channel 4 News goes into full on fawn-mode. This typically happens with royal stories, the Olympics and, tonight, the papal conclave. 14 full minutes at the start of the show to tell us... Nothing. Literally, nothing has happened. The front runners are the same and the conclave didn't choose a pope. That's 14 minutes of news programme they weren't able to devote to cover other stories.

This angers me. I want to see journalists covering a variety of things at depth, but these fawning stories have no depth. They take up time and frustrate.

Anyway, rant over... Join me on Twitter on Thursday* when, undoubtably we'll do it all again

Alex
x x

*I am not at home tomorrow...