Sunday, May 28, 2006

Info Overload Avoidance

I'm going through a large of stack of newspapers from the past two weeks. Some I've already scanned and others were set aside with the intent of returning to an article.

Although it appears to be otherwise, this is actually an information overload avoidance exercise.

Why? Because I've found that a large chunk of the stories that are breathlessly promoted by the newspapers don't require daily attention. They are like soap operas - "Is Meredith still in the hospital?" - and can be picked up at various points without any real loss.

The New York Times has its moments and is still capable of great articles, but editorially it has become the joke that conservative critics used to crack back in the Sixties (Under an ad declaring, "I got my job through The New York Times," one wag wrote, "So did Castro.") and you see more of its editorial bias in the news articles. The Wall Street Journal has a liberal news staff and a conservative editorial one, which makes for a nice combination.

The same can be said of magazines. The news magazines have seriously declined in quality. TIME and Newsweek are now both shallow and biased; they'd be better advised to pick one or the other. The business mags are better. I regularly read Forbes, Business Week, Inc., Fortune, Business 2.0, Fast Company, and the Harvard Business Review as well as some more specialized ones.

As for commentary, there is Commentary. When it comes to depth, one issue is worth 200 issues of Newsweek.

And that's the secret, to find the sources that are worth the time and scan through the others. Going through newspapers and magazines is like panning for gold and there are days when you know that your time would be better spent reading a book, but you still look for the nuggets.

Call it gold fever.

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