The past 18 months or so — more than any single, uninterrupted period of time in recent memory — has shown millions of people how important a robust news ecosystem is. National politics, for example, has probably never felt as consequential to many Americans. We’re still in the midst of a devastating pandemic, and even the simple pleasures we enjoy in life, from watching a movie in the theater to eating inside our favorite restaurant and enjoying a public spectacle like a professional sports competition — all of it is undergoing seismic change. Transitions that we rely on a vibrant press to chronicle and help calibrate us so we can better understand what’s going on.
In addition to the daily news diet that we all have, whether it’s our favored newspaper in the morning, or Twitter and media sites first thing and throughout the day, what you’ll find below are recommendations of ways to also augment that news diet. With everything from informative email newsletters tailored to news junkies, to podcasts and streaming content. Regarding the latter, we’ve got a pair of new journalism-themed TV and movie suggestions, to complement the streaming recommendations found in this earlier post (which focused on movies and TV shows across Netflix, HBO, and Apple TV+ that have a journalism tie-in).
We’ll start things off, however, with two email newsletters:
- Reliable Sources, from CNN’s Brian Stelter (subscribe here)
- Press Run, from Eric Boehlert
One can make an argument that if you were to untether yourself from the digital grid all day, and only check your phone at night when the Reliable Sources newsletter hits your email inbox, you’ll be caught up on the day’s most consequential stories that have even the slightest connection to the world of media. Pros: It’s both a quickly scannable newsletter, easy to digest, and it has the added benefit of also packing in a ton of content. From job moves among the industry’s movers and shakers to a calendar of the week’s big media news like earnings and streaming releases, plus much more. Con: If you had to pick one thing here, the newsletter can often be pretty politics-heavy at the top. Which might turn some people off if they’re trying to avoid politics throughout the day. But, then again, it’s also just the nature of things now, that you can’t talk about what’s happening in media at the moment without brushing up against a political narrative of some sort soon enough.
Where Stelter goes for breadth, meanwhile, Press Run is great for depth. And for the perspective that Boehlert brings to issues he writes about (each edition of the newsletter seems to focus on just a couple of big topics — like, recent interactions between the White House press corps and White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki). In a world of the pack mentality and hive mind, Press Run almost always gives me something fresh to think about. Like in the recent edition where Boehlert asked why the press doesn’t demand that Trump “go away” the same way they did to Hillary Clinton when she lost in 2016.
Here are two great news-focused podcasts to check out, which are a bit off the beaten path (since shows from publishers like Axios and The New York Times tend to be among the most oft-suggested on these kinds of lists).
- What A Day, from Crooked Media
- Tabloid, from Luminary
Crooked Media’s What A Day podcast is a breezy, 20-minute rundown of the big news stories of the day. The hosts’ (comedian Akilah Hughes and reporter Gideon Resnick) presenting style is “what Fox & Friends would sound like if it were hosted by two people whose parents read to them as children.” That’s how the podcast advertises itself, and you kind of get the vibe pretty quickly. Like on a recent episode, when Hughes kicked things over to Resnick to talk about why the CDC was backtracking on its face mask mandate. Basically, he explained, it’s because “we’re in some (expletive).” The podcast, by the way, is available Monday-Friday starting at 5 a.m. EST and available on all the major podcast platforms.
Luminary’s Tabloid, meanwhile, is about the gossipy publications that “are not just guilty pleasures. They are revelatory ones, electrified by the tripwires of culture: Race, class, gender, and politics.” Season 2 dives into the tawdry side of Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee’s messy romance.
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