Mike Connell

The Big Question: What Are a PR Pro’s Favorite News Sources?

By: Mike Connell | November 10, 2017 | 
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favorite news sourcesWe talk a lot about where we get our information—about where we learn—here at Spin Sucks.

Books we read, podcasts we listen to, events we attend.

But what about how we get our daily local, national, and world news?

Favorite news sources: mine was (and is, for the most part) traditional news media, like The Globe and Mail. 

Not because I know I’m getting everything I need to know from that source, but because there was comfort in—what was it called—reading a… paper?

With the torrent of content that flies across my screen and pops into my mailbox, not to mention the streams of feeds from social channels du jour, I increasingly look for help deciphering what news I should be paying attention to.

That’s where NextDraft comes in.

Real. News. Daily.

I love it. But still, it only skims the surface.

With that in mind, we asked our audience this Big Question:

What are your favorite news sources to keep up to date with what’s going on in the world?

Alexa, What’s the News?

My mum has a TV in her kitchen.

She has for almost as long as I can remember (or at least since they’ve been small enough to fit in her kitchen, and not look out of place).

The news or a cooking show of some sort is always on.

I used to work in office environments where there are screens scattered about, mounted on walls, streaming daily news.

I also worked in the service industry when I went back to school.

A bar that had at least 20 TVs, most playing sports, but one or two always had to feature some form of news source.

It is, and was, everywhere.

It’s on our phones for news-on-the-go.

And now, it’s literally at our beck and call.

Hey Alexa, what’s the news?

Nicole Bermack is in the Alexa camp:

While I used to rely on the staples of journalism (NY Times, Washington Post, etc.) to provide me with news, now I get most of my news by just asking Alexa what’s happening. It’s just so easy; and then for any gaps that I’ve missed, I get a lot of news by accident from the Facebook sidebar.

We as marketers need to realize as well that people are more interested now in the niche-specific news, and not as many general pieces of news that may not affect us.

I use subreddits on Reddit for this—which is also a great place to run ads and create viral stories that boost a website’s SEO.

I think the news is changing greatly right now, and we as marketers need to stay on top of the new advancements in its consumption.

Remember Newspaper Delivery?

Paige Arnof-Fenn sits on the other side of the fence:

I start every morning listening to NPR while I get ready for my day. Then over breakfast, I read a local daily newspaper (yes, I still get it delivered) for sports news and headlines.

The New York Times is my home page so every time I open a browser, I get the update there.

In my inbox, I get several newsletters from technology and marketing industry trades, Time and People Magazine, entrepreneur/VC blogs and at night I may watch a little CNN or headline news too.

Late night TV is great for their perspective on the news of the day. I listen to the radio in my car on the way to meetings and will pick up whatever newspaper is there at coffee shops or offices before I meet people.

I do not use Twitter or Alexa for news at all.

Favorite News Sources: Do Google Alerts Count?

According to Harrison Brady, yes, Google Alerts count:

This might be sad, but to get an overview of what’s happening in the world on any given day, I don’t go to any news site at all. I rely on Google News Alerts for news and to get insights into a range of topics from business and entertainment to Batman and Star Wars.

Google has identified my interests well enough to pull up articles from a variety of sources about North Korea, the election, and whatever else it may be.

Based on that perusal, I can find more information from a variety of sources, which I think is important.

I also think it’s important we don’t allow ourselves to get trapped into echo chambers, where we reinforce our political, professional, and worldview to the exclusion of all others.

Even as a professional in communications, it’s easy to get fixated on my favorite SEO influencer or my favorite blogs. But I’ve found that I have learned the most by gleaning information from all kinds of sources.

I personally like Morning Consult, which compiles articles and news on different topics of my choice. That way I can quickly scan for topics that merit a more in-depth search.

It’s All About Fact-Checking

Fake news and alternative facts require PR and communication professionals to pair a healthy dose of fact-checking alongside their favorite news sources.

From Robert Barrows:

My go-to daily news sources are as follows:

  • In the morning: Local TV news, CNN, and Fox
  • At breakfast, I look at The Wall Street Journal (subscription) and a local newspaper
  • In the evening: Network News and local TV News
  • During the day, if I see something in a newsfeed on Facebook or Twitter that looks interesting, I will check it out and then try to confirm it from another news source after a Google search

Favorite News Source: The Feed Aggregator

Instead of panning from one news source to another, many opt for an aggregator to capture and streamline the various feeds they are interested in.

Sherrilynne Starkie:

I use Feedly to check in with the NYT, The Guardian, the BBC and The Globe & Mail.

From Alexandrea Merrell:

I subscribe to the “Daily Briefing” which is a daily update from The Week.

I also get theSkimm, Variety Insider, and the Real Deal emails daily and use the Flipboard app.

Issues that interest me, or that I want to learn more about, get tossed into my to read folder which I tackle on Saturday morning before everyone is up.

On Sunday morning, after a leisurely stroll to Orwashers for donuts or Pick A Bagel, I spend the morning reading the New York Times.

Of course, I check periodically on Spin Sucks.

You have to make a plan. Otherwise, it is so easy to get distracted by the 24-hour news cycle and come-on headlines popping up constantly through Facebook and Twitter.

Tossing interesting things into my to-read folder has become automatic and helps me stay focused on business.

#AllTheNews

Some don’t have a particular rhyme or reason when it comes to their favorite news sources. They just get the news where they find it, or perhaps more accurately, in the format, voice, and frequency they choose.

Kristy Cartier likes her news:

Quartz, Bisnow, Washington Business Journal, Greater Greater Washington, Medium, various “Morning” newsletters from Politico, SmartBrief, RestonNow (local), Dive newsletters (Construction Dive, etc.), Louisville Business First. I think I’ll stop now.  

Maris Callahan also reads NextDraft:

For theSkimm fans who are over the whole “tee hee, white girls drink rose” stuff I highly recommend NextDraft. It is a daily news digest that goes out in the afternoon and recaps the news with dry humor. It’s good stuff.

And, for the finish: Howie Goldfarb:

I read The Economist, Huff Post, WaPo, NY times, NPR/VPR, Guardian, BBC, LA Times. I don’t have a TV or cable and almost never get news via social media. It’s like 99 percent news orgs and one percent my social network.

While there are many favorite news sources, very few of this week’s respondents have one news source they rely on. The day of one, go-to resource is gone.

And that’s a good thing. More content. More news. It’s the trust factor that suffers, unfortunately. Reminding us that the adage “you can’t always trust what you find on TV, in print, or online” continues to stand firm through the ages.

Up Next

What do they say? Everybody has a book in them.

Then again, they also say: “But not all are worth reading.”

Still, in an industry where we write a lot and build expertise in our respective areas, there is no shortage of book opportunities.

In the spirit of NaNoWriMo, the next Big Question asks:

What book do you want to write?

Maybe you’ve published something already, and have something else you want to get out there.

Perhaps it’s something fictional, or outside of what you focus on day to day.

Whatever it is, let us know, and perhaps the PR Dream Team can help you get it done!

You can answer here, in our free Slack community, or on the socials (use #SpinSucksQuestion so we can find you).

About Mike Connell


Mike Connell is the director of client services at Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. He is also a contributor to the award-winning PR blog, Spin Sucks, the leading source for modern PR training, trends, and insights. Find more of Mike's musings on his blog, Communative . Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • It’s funny to see how much things have changed, just in the last five years, on how we get our news. When I speak to Vistage groups, I always ask how many people get the newspaper. Five years ago, everyone did. It has slowly gone down. Today, maybe one person gets it. So then I ask, “Do you read it in that form?” and the answer is almost always no.

    • I still love traditional media. I don’t get a physical paper, nor have I for some time. And I miss it. Kind of like how I’m adjusting my “real” to eBook ratio… there is something nice about reading a physical book. But the paper? I think I can live with getting that info online.

      • I still read two “physical” editions – the Washington Business Journal and Sunday’s WaPo. Something about the feel, smell and weight of actual paper. Ironically, I now have read more and more articles online before receiving the printed version!

  • Alexandrea Merrell

    Thanks for including me in this piece!

  • Dawn Buford

    I have been reading the NYTimes on my iPhone for the last 15 years. I can remember riding the bus to work and getting so irritated by the people next to me who read the Wall Street Journal (because it was wider than all papers and people would be in your already non-existent space, flipping the pages). Just yesterday a woman on the bus seated in front of me was reading the Chicago Tribune in paper form. While most read it on their smartphones, there are still those old school folks who like the feel of the newspaper. Personally, I do not miss the smudged ink on my fingers, but I do love sitting down at the kitchen table at my parents house and reading the sections of the local newspaper my dad hands me as he finishes them.

    • LOL!! I do that with Kelly’s dad. He’ll hand me the sections as he finishes. It’s the ONLY time I read the real paper.

  • Wow! I can’t remember the last time I read a physical paper. However, I do remember how annoyed I was by the ink stains on my fingers after reading it.

  • heidicohen

    Having worked for traditional go-to news entities like The Economist and The New York Times (in the marketing arm of their digital agencies), I’m not surprised at the decline in traditional news consumption (print, radio and television). It’s related to the growth and availability of smartphones.

    That said, commute time is still media consumption time, whether it’s radio, podcasts or other content broadcast via a smartphone.

    I’m surprised that more people don’t read The Skimm (started by 2 journalists). Since the editors have a millennial approach it may be an age thing.

    What’s missing in my opinion is how many people get their news from sources like John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight, The Daily Show and The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. The host’s insightful comments are as good as the top editorial.

    Further Pew Internet data shows an increasing use of social media for news gathering. People may be allowing their networks to curate content for them.

    Happy marketing,
    Heidi

    Heidi Cohen
    Actionable Marketing Guide

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