Fine Tune the Internet to Get Your News

This is my response to the insightful post by Callie Schweitzer on how she gets her news. “How do you Internet? How do you get your news? I really, really want to know.”

As a reader, my goal is to blur the lines between the two types of news: news you find, and news that finds you. I want to seek out my news using tools that are smart enough to come back and automatically deliver new news to me in the future.

A look at my own habits:

I power through my Instapaper queue on the subway during my commute. Everything added to that queue was put there actively, so this doesn’t help much in the quest for passive news income. But Instapaper helps considerably with actually reading the long stuff, so it’s on the list.

Newsletters: I can’t overstate the value of a few carefully selected newsletters. My favorite roundup comes from Dave Pell who delivers The Day’s Most Fascinating News in an email and complimentary iOS app.

My job is to manage and deliver digital campaigns focused on web, mobile, social, and video. The web is abundant with dev and design resources, and Sacha Greif’s Sidebar consistently surfaces the most interesting and useful links, everyday.

(An aside on these newsletters: Craig Mod calls them Subcompact Publishers, or publications that value the editorial ethics and storytelling of traditional journalism, while having a smart digital distribution model. Not quite website, not quite magazine, not quite book. Jason Kottke has a nice rundown of these small Internet publications here.)

The Quora Weekly Digest is another highly recommended email newsletter. But this is really for pleasure reading as opposed to getting the news or industry know-how…

Company Intranets: My company has a private Facebook group where everyone posts articles relevant to our projects and mentions emerging trends. The knowledge spillover and subsequent discussions are unmatched anywhere else on the web. This tool is great for both the discovery and breakdown of news and trends.

Twitter: It’s no secret… follow journalists. I pay close attention to article bylines and follow the people writing the things I want to know about. Their ensuing discussions on Twitter and Branch are often more acute than the contents of the actual news item.

Digg: This one is the kicker. There is one destination page I do navigate to: Digg is quickly becoming the leading news aggregator, a lead that seems only to accelerate with the help of its online news cycle focused parent company, Betaworks. I noticed that Digg was my trusted news source during the tragedy in Boston, and will likely remain an integral piece for how I receive the news, no matter the method.

That’s how I train relevant news to find me. A follow up to this article will be a roundup of the ~50 people to follow on twitter to help the cause.

If you have any thoughts or additions, please share them with me: @ryanfs.

I hope this helps make you better at news.