What I'm Reading / by Maia Kaufman

Assignment:

"Track all the articles you read for the next 3 weeks. Keep a list. Everything. Online and offline. Don't self censor. In the third week look at your list and see if you can identify the themes that run through these articles. What connects these stories."

 

So to begin, I made a pie chart. I looked at everything I read, categorized it by main issue or theme, and compared each category. I was dismayed to see that I apparently spend more time reading things like "Awkwardly Sitting Cats" as opposed to issues on gay rights or even art and design. Really though- how funny are those cats? (Answer: very.)

I also wanted to look at where I was getting my news and that too was enlightening. I really need to branch out! 

I work full time, and when I'm not at work I'm usually in class, a group meeting, or sleeping. I realize I have my go-to news sources because I don't have the time to sit down and let the internet take me where my unconscious may want me to go. That's a problem. Letting your mind wander if the best way to find stories and products you might never have thought to look for, and interests in things you never would have guessed.

I do tend to stay away from typical news sources, and prefer instead to stick to more removed, maybe more analytical sources. I have never enjoyed the news news. I find it alarmist, panic-inducing. I never know what's really relevant. I have always really liked Slate, because while it skews liberal, they often have headlines that first have me gasp a little (out of disagreement, not shock), and focus a lot on inequality in this country and abroad. I also like NY Mag as my 2nd main source, since it's local and can be as serious or as fun as I'm in the mood for, with the consistency of the brand. Here is the list of news (a term being used broadly- I'm looking at you Buzzfeed!) sources in order of most to least amount of traffic from me:

Slate
NY Mag
The New Yorker
Buzzfeed 
Raw Story 
Vice
Atlantic
Fast Coexist
IndieWire
Gawker
Hyperallergic

There are a handful more. Many of these were from Facebook posts, so I was paying more attention to the headline than the source. 

To take this deeper, I wanted to see if there were threads among the articles in the different categories. That's a lot harder to spot.

Inequality is the obvious big one. Issues about people being discriminated based on gender or sexual orientation. I usually read a lot of race related articles but apparently not so much these past three weeks. 

I think I get a fairly good sense of myself from this list. I do have a varied range of interests, but mostly I am more likely to click on a link involving issues around "women's" issues. I do hate that term, because any "women's" issue can in one second be linked intrinsically with "men's" issues, economics, employment, race, religion, etc. I like learning about new technologies, although I know when I read them, I'm usually skeptical about how well they actually work. I also really like stupid, silly, pointless articles. I loved seeing the smug runner fall in the snow and I won't apologize for that.