Time to Start Paying
I don’t want to say that I consider my media consumption to be shallow, but over the course of this assignment I’ve realized that I don’t get much of my news from traditional newspaper sites. I don’t consider myself cheap, but anything with a paywall I pretty much automatically avoid. That immediately excludes the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and even the LA Times from my daily news intake — both the print and digital versions. The most consistent time I spend on The Washington Post site is reading Alexandra Petri’s humor column or Alyssa Rosenberg’s pop culture commentary. You’re going to notice a theme here.
The majority of the articles I read come from newer — and primarily digital — sports and pop culture outlets. I hadn’t really considered the possibility that the news I was consuming could be seen as superficial before starting this master’s program. After all, it’s not like I’m relying solely on E! News for updates on important global issues or looking to Justin Bieber for guidance on who to vote for in November.
Twitter is the main way I find the articles and links I want to read throughout the day. I appreciated the lens of mostly humorous, sometimes critical commentary it gives on the headlines of the day. There are accounts on there I rely pretty heavily on to not just tell me the news, but also poke fun of it a little, whether it’s about a Trump rally or a Clipper’s trade.
Which leads me to a second realization. The primary delivery mechanism for how I find the articles I want to read isn’t necessarily by publication, but by personality. Shea Serrano, Katie Baker, Carvell Wallace, Mallory Ortberg. It doesn’t really matter who they’re writing for or what they’re writing about — I’ll read it.
In its own weird way, Grantland closing down has dictated what I read online in a pretty big way — in that many of my favorite writers have since found employment elsewhere. There was the initial staff exodus to MTV News, which I had my doubts about, but with Jessica Hopper at the helm seems to be churning out some pretty consistent examples of remarkable culture commentary. Of course, this is all still mixed in with the patented “Look What Kim Kardashian Wore Today” blurbs, but I just read Amy Nicholson’s tribute to Gene Wilder and it made me cry.
A smattering of other writers from the ex-Disney property went on to other locations. Rembert Browne went to the online New York Magazine, which represents the sole arbiter of my political party convention coverage for this election cycle, and Wesley Morris went on to become the film critic for the New York Times. I’d also like to point out that he’s won a Pulitzer. Most everyone else has landed at The Ringer, which hasn’t quite reached its predecessor’s former glory but I have high hopes for yet.