Joe Randazzo: What I Read

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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 people who seem well-informed to describe their media diets. This is from an interview with Joe Randazzo, the editor of the satirical newspaper The Onion.

Usually my phone will be on my bedside table and I'll check my e-mail and Twitter right way. I have a few alerts: The Slatest Morning Edition, The Daily Beast Morning Edition and The Onion. For about 10 minutes while I'm in bed, I'll glance at Twitter and visit different news services.

The one site that I check the most that's a regular old news site is The New York Times. But throughout the day, I'm looking at Twitter, which is the fastest way for me to get the news. With Twitter, people are already commenting on news stories before I hear what's happening. It's a pretty extraordinary real-time source.

When I'm writing headlines for The Onion and looking for inspiration I'll look at Google News. I used to look at Drudge, but not so much anymore.

The only hard copy I still pay for is The New Yorker and Harper's which I rarely find the time to read anymore. Harper's is a little too lefty for me at times.

I don't really watch any TV news. I watch The Daily Show when I can. I used to watch it in the morning but now a lot of mornings are filled with exercising. Our features editor Joe Garden edits all the timely, topical stuff and is always on top of the news. So he'll send out alerts and let me know what's going on.

I very rarely watch network news. Partly because my wife finds it extremely distasteful and also because I find it very hard to sit around for a half hour and watch something that isn't Top Chef.

On Twitter there are all kinds of great people to follow: CNN, The New York Times, The Guardian and Breaking News. There are a few people who Tweet from Haiti like Richard Morse who I still follow. And when events happen like the protests in Iran or the flotilla in Gaza it's nice to follow people who may not be accredited journalists but who are getting real-time information about what's going on. I also follow Richard Dawkins, Obama's press secretary and Sarah Palin. I have a little over 5,500 followers and I follow around 600 people.

Five years ago, I used to be much more interested in political blogging. I followed Atrios and the Daily Kos. Now I don't think there are any blogs that I go to daily. Most of the stuff I read tends to be pretty short, so even your average thoughtful 600-word blog post is harder to get through. In my defense, my job is reading. My eyes get a little fatigued.

Most of the lampooning we do is of The New York Times' voice-of-God style reporting. It would be much harder to lampoon the New York Post or Daily News because they are somewhat aware of their own voice. We also lampoon NY Times and USA Today-style profile pieces. The ones like: This is an interesting story about an interesting person. Isn't this interesting?

Probably the most unnerving aspect of the mainstream media is the way it becomes the news that it's reporting on and doesn't even realize it. The complete and total blurring of the line between entertainment and news. You can see it on Fox News but, really, commodifying news and making it more entertaining is just a general trend in the media as a whole.

With blogging, the ability to work out of one's apartment is amazing. It captures the spirit of what America is all about and seeing that play out on the Internet is absolutely incredible. There is a danger, however, of becoming something that you hate. So many bloggers dismiss the mainstream media but there are a lot of people doing quality reporting. In the end, we're all standing under the heels of advertising.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.