David Frum: What I Read

The blogger explains his Media Diet

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How do other people deal with the torrent of information that pours down on us all? Do they have some secret? Perhaps. We are asking various journalists who seem well-informed to describe their media diets. This is from an exchange with David Frum, editor of FrumForum.com and author of six books.

I remain a large consumer of print. I read the Washington Post, the Financial Times, and the New York Times in paper almost every day. The Wall Street Journal I don't subscribe to, but if I'm at a newsstand I'll glance at the headlines.

Then I move to my laptop--I work from home--and read Politico, The Hill, and my favorite blogs: Andrew Sullivan, Mickey Kaus when he was blogging, The Corner, The New Republic, Huffington Post, and Talking Points Memo. I also read the Canadian papers, since I'm Canadian. I'll look at the homepages of the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail, and the National Post everyday. Those are the main sites.

More intermittently, I read the Juicebox Mafia guys, Matt Yglesias and Ezra Klein. Oh, and Eli Lake. I think he's the best intelligence reporter in Washington. As for columnists, I read Charles Krauthammer and David Brooks for sure. Those are probably the two I read most regularly. I read Jon Chait, Bradford DeLong, and Anne Applebaum. I also read Michael Moynihan at Reason.

I don't tend to go back to the same blog a second time during the day. If something happens, if I miss something on a blog I need to see, I have enough people who will send me links to it. Email is a very important news source for me. One of the routines I used to have was making a point of reading at least one foreign newspaper every day. I read the Telegraph or the Guardian on Monday, used my high school French for Le Monde on Tuesday, etc. I don't do that anymore because I have enough people who will send me articles if I don't see them.

I also use Twitter a lot. I find it a hugely valuable source. It's the way I find out what's going on in the world, fast. By the time I get emailed about things, I will have seen them on Twitter. I follow about a hundred journalists and reporters. Chuck Todd, Jake Tapper, and Matt Yglesias are all great.

One thing that I think is probably different in my news consumption from others is that I continue to read a lot of print magazines. I love the British magazine The Prospect, and I look at the Economist whenever I'm flying, which is often. I like the New Yorker and the New York Review of Books, which I subscribe to. I get comped The Weekly Standard and National Review and usually take a look at them. I also read all of the major foreign policy quarterlies: Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, and the National Interest.

I read magazines at odd moments during the day. I keep one in my briefcase for if I'm delayed anywhere, during take-off and landing, during lunch--for the nooks and crannies throughout the day. I have an iPhone, but it's such a doubtful piece of machinery for reading purposes. I just tend to read things on paper.

I'm not a big TV consumer, either. If I watch a TV clip it's usually online. I don't typically watch the Sunday shows, but I will go back and listen to them on CSPAN on Sunday afternoons while I'm cooking, driving, etc. I'm definitely a CSPAN radio person. I'll also, if I'm driving, usually try to listen to the first 15 minutes of Rush Limbaugh. That's pretty much it for talk radio. I will listen to the Laura Ingraham show though, which I like a lot since I think she solves a lot of tone issues.

I make a real point of continuing to read books, and making a real diet of them. I always read two books at the same time, one in paper and one as an audiobook. The paper one will be nonfiction and the audiobook is almost always fiction. I listen to the audiobook in the car and while working out, which I do a lot. Right now, in paper, I'm reading Max Hastings' soon-to-be released book on Winston Churchill, and on audiobook, Lord Jim.

The audiobooks are for fun. In the past two years I've worked my way through reading and rereading a lot of the classics of English and Continental literature. I read a column about how it changes your opinion of writers, listening to audiobooks. If you'd asked me my favorite 19th century novelist before the invention of the audiobook, I would have said George Eliot. Now I would say Thomas Hardy.

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