This article is from the archive of our partner .

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 Frank Rich, a weekly columnist for the New York Times.


As a disclaimer: I’m pretty omnivorous, obsessive, and inefficient, so I wouldn’t recommend that anyone follow my example. I get five print newspapers each morning: the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the New York Post, and the New York Daily News. I do understand the inefficiency of print, but it’s a habit—when I grew up in Washington I was a newspaper delivery boy. I go through the papers very fast or more luxuriantly, depending on my day, whether I’m on deadline, etc. I read them away from my desk, drinking a cup—no, several cups—of coffee.


Then, either at my office or at home, where I often do the actual writing part of my work, I get on the web and look at a bunch of places to augment and update my newspaper news. Obviously I look at the Times’ site, at Talking Points Memo, Politico, Slate, and The New Republic. I check Memeorandum, which is a good index to blogging stuff, as well as Huffington Post and Real Clear Politics.


I read too many columnists and bloggers to mention, but I’d start with the Atlantic bloggers and the conservative bloggers on the National Review or Commentary sites. I also like reading some of the really smart financial bloggers, like Megan McArdle, Felix Salmon, and Rolfe Winkler.


I do some version of that periodically throughout the day, as circumstances allow or warrant. My column is due on Fridays, and so every day is sort of different; obviously some days are very deadline intensive and allow less time for distractions. Because you can, after all, turn endless web surfing or leafings of a newspaper into endless procrastination.


I read a lot of magazines, too. They’re incredibly handy for reading at the gym—I’ll sometimes go through three or four magazines on an elliptical machine. Besides the New York Times Magazine [editor's note: Rich's wife, Alex Witchel, is a staff writer], I regularly read the New Yorker, New York Magazine, the New York Review of Books, The Nation, and Vanity Fair. I absolutely read the Economist, and fairly thoroughly. I used to work for Time, early in my career, so I’m curious about what’s going on with them. The problem newsweeklies are having, and as a reader I’m a symptom of it, is that it’s not clear to me what their role is. For entertainment news I read Variety, and I also look The Atlantic, Harper’s, and the Paris Review (and not just because my son works there). It’s a media deluge. My biggest problem is trying to cut it down and digest it.


At night, as I’m going to bed, I’ll usually watch Jon Stewart and/or Stephen Colbert, and I always Tivo one of the network newscasts because I’m curious to see the zeitgeist of them. I sample cable news—CNN, MSNBC, and Fox—if some big story is happening. I’m also often reading scripts or watching DVDs for HBO, for whom I do programming consulting.


I tend to also like to do reading, particularly at night, that has no relation to journalism or my work. I usually have several books going that could range from non-contemporary fiction, to contemporary fiction, to nonfiction that might be tied to news or politics. I’ve been reading everything from the novel Union Atlantic, which just came out a few weeks ago, to Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem.


When I’m travelling my Kindle is great, but even then I’ll take a book or two. As I discovered on a recent trip, a Kindle can inexplicably crash, and I never want to be on an airplane without a book. I don’t use the Kindle for reading magazines and newspapers, but it’s great for reading manuscripts and scripts.

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

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to