I'll often look around for what a bunch of people who I like to follow pretty closely, websites or writers, to see what they're talking about. It's people like Joe Weisenthal at Business Insider, Kevin Roose, Heidi Moore, Felix Salmon, Jesse Eisenger, Matthew Klein, Ryan McCarthy, Matt Goldstein at Reuters, everybody at FT Alphaville -- if it's a day when a Holman Jenkins column comes out in the Wall Street Journal, I tend to go to that, and I'll look at Heard on the Street. These are people who tend to be writing about things that nobody else is, or taking angles on things that everybody reads but their angles are going to be more interesting than everybody else's.
I'll open my email to see what my colleagues at CNBC have been emailing me about, what sources have been emailing me. I'll read through what I consider the big macro economics blogs, like Pragmatic Capitalism, or Mosler Economics, The Money Illusion, and occasionally Paul Krugman, to see what they're talking about. And usually by then I have a couple of ideas of what I want to write about.
CNBC has a couple morning phone calls that I participate in, where we plan out what's going to be on the air that day, and what's going to be online that day, so I'll call into those around 8 and 9 in the morning to talk about what's going on. And then at that point I'm usually writing something, trying get a couple things out for the morning.
Later in the day I often find myself, particularly if it's a slow news day, I'll go to the SSRN, the Social Sciences Research Network, and run through the most recent finance, and law, and economics papers to see if there's anything that seems like, this would be a good thing to try to bring to people's attention. There's a lot of really smart stuff that often doesn't filter through to the public for a long time. I like to spend some time looking through that and try to figure out, do I understand this paper and can I explain what it's saying to people in a way that will make sense in a post on a website?
In the afternoon, I'll go back and see what people have written about that morning. Is there something I disagree with? Or something I want to emphasize to talk about more, on top of the news? Another couple reporters I should mention — Lauren LaCapra at Reuters does a lot of good stuff, and Jessica Pressler at New York magazine, and guys like Eddy Elfenbein, an old school stock blogger, Tony Fratto, Ed Harrison. I'll see what people are talking about, and if there's a way to engage in that conversation. Sometimes that's just for tweeting, sometimes that's for writing blog posts, and sometimes I'll email producers at CNBC and say, this guy's saying something interesting, we should try to see if we can talk on air.
I also spend too much time reading stuff that's completely outside the econ and politics area. I read The Awl, The Hairpin, Crushable, and Grantland. Arts and Letters Daily is a huge time suck because there's a billion things there I want to read and there's no way I have time to get through it all. And I love cooking websites, like America's Test Kitchen, so very often when I'm trying to decide what to make for dinner in the afternoon, I'm on America's Test Kitchen looking. I don't know how much that contributes to my productivity except that it probably saves me time. I can work later because I know exactly what I'm going to cook.