Robbie Myers: What I Read
Car Talk and Wait Wait … Don't Tell Me! are sacred hours for the Elle editor in chief, who wakes up with Twitter and falls asleep with The New Yorker.
How do people deal with the torrent of information pouring down on us all? What sources can't they live without? We regularly reach out to prominent figures in media, entertainment, politics, the arts, and the literary world to hear their answers. This is drawn from a conversation with Robbie Myers, the editor in chief of Elle.
I wake up to NPR. I like to wake up to somebody talking peacefully in my ear instead of blaring at me. Then, typically, I reach over and check my phones — my BlackBerry and my iPhone — for Twitter. I'm still in bed and I just scroll really quickly to see if something blew up overnight.
My Twitter feed is very eclectic, but it's a lot of news. Like, the first tweet I saw this morning was from Chuck Todd. I also follow the BBC, The Cut, The New York Times, Women's Wear Daily, The Daily Show, Vanity Fair, Slate, Styleite, Interview, Time, Vulture — a lot of news sites and different points of view. I also like Richard Lawson, and I follow The Atlantic Wire. I like Maureen Dowd, obviously — well, that might not be obvious — Thomas Friedman and I follow Joe Zee, who I get a lot news from. So far I'm not even out of bed.
I do get out of bed and pick up The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, which are waiting at my door, and I put them in my bag to read on the way to work. I have two children and myself and my husband, so we're dashing around the house to get ready. But NPR is on while I'm in the shower, and then in my bedroom while I'm getting dressed. And, sometimes, if I'm running late, I listen to the BBC, which I quite like.
I get to work and the New York Post is waiting for me along with every magazine. Well, not every magazine published in the U.S., but I do get a lot of different things. I read all my competitors. I'm typically pretty busy at work so I'm not really spending a lot of time reading magazines, but I am on various websites throughout the day. The Daily Beast is open; The Atlantic Wire is open, The Cut, Vulture, and then I move around. Like today, I ended up on a Boston newspaper because I was interested in a headline about Patty Murray not talking to the press. So, you know, you get lost in the matrix, which is great for me and it actually informs my work.
I also follow many people on Instagram — Instagram is great for fashion because it's visual. I check it along with everything else, a couple times a day: in the cab, on the way to an appointment. I follow a lot of my friends like Keith Pollock at Dujour, and Chris Benz is funny, and I like Oscar PR girl. Tory Burch is great.
For me, I just feel that it's my job to be aware of as much as I can be. I go on BuzzFeed just so I know. And, I occasionally go on Perez Hilton — I end up all kinds of places on purpose. It's good to know what a huge mass of people are talking about at any one particular moment even if it is cats. Whether or not that informs what we end up doing on the magazine or the website, it's just an overall sweep of what's going on.
I don't watch a ton of TV. I loved House of Cards and watched that obsessively for about four days because I stayed up way too late watching it. Sort of like Madeline Albright saying she listens to conservative radio so she knows what the other side thinks, sometimes I watch Fox News. If I'm in Europe, and I travel there several times a year, it's one of the few English-speaking stations I can get that's live. What they're playing at 5 a.m. is sometimes shocking. It's sort of like when I was a kid and you'd wake up early on Sunday morning and they'd have these hell and brimstone preachers on television — it's that level of emotion and fear mongering. There are also people that are really good and responsible journalists on there. I do watch CNN; I like Chris Cuomo.
Most nights, I watch NewsHour on PBS. I record it so I don't usually watch it until about 10:30 when my children go to bed. My kids love to watch Ellen. I love her, too. I've caught glimpses of Pretty Little Liars, but I'm usually doing something else when that's on. We also watch the Yankees a lot, The Big Bang Theory, and of course, Glee, when it's on.
With a 10-year-old and a 12-year-old, there's also a lot of pop music on before bedtime. There's no Bieber allowed in our house because they can't stand him. We've been listening to Macklemore, Justin Timberlake, Fun. — my daughter is a musician, so she's very sophisticated.
On the weekend, Car Talk and Wait Wait … Don't Tell Me! are sacred hours in my house. Everybody knows not to bother me and I get cranky if we have to go do something else because I really like listening to them on Saturday morning. While I listen, usually I'm doing something that needs to be done, like making schedules or paying my bills, or something very important like playing Scrabble on my iPad. And Sunday morning is just so frustrating to my children because we watch This Week and Meet the Press and we catch up on anything that we missed on NewsHour.
Before I go to bed, I'll work on one of the books that's on my iPad. I read thrillers and biographies. I just read The Marriage Plot, which I quite liked. Or I'll read a longer read from The Atlantic or The New Yorker. I'm not saying those put me to sleep, but it's quiet so you have a minute to think.