What are the books, podcasts, websites, blogs, and newsletters that make up your media diet? You are what you eat, and that includes the information you consume. Today’s post is about what I read daily as part of my media diet (part 1 of a 3 part series).
What Is a “Media Diet?”
“Media diet” is a phrase I came across several years ago in a web series by The Atlantic. A reporter would interview public figures about how they stayed informed and what they regularly read and watched and make a simple post out of it. (I still remember Malcolm Gladwell‘s comment about his daily reading habits: “Since my brain really only works in the morning, I try to keep that time free for writing and thinking and don’t read any media at all until lunchtime.” I totally identify….)
In part 1 of this series (parts 2 and 3 coming on the next two Mondays) about my media diet, I’ll focus on what I read daily (or at least regularly).
What I Do First Thing in the Morning
I’ve written before about the importance of the First 15, i,e., spending at least the first 15 minutes of your day in prayer, scripture, and silence. So, I’ve been getting up really early recently in order to have an unhurried time of prayer first thing, before I workout.
Currently this is what I use in my prayer time:
- the NRSV Thinline Bible I was given by the bishop at my ordination;
- the scripture reading calendar my church gives out through our Eat This Book program;
- Seedbed’s Field Guide to Daily Prayer (I really like the 30 day- reading plan for the Psalms);
- and a small journal that I write in about once a week or so.
Breakfast: The Dallas Morning News and NPR
After working out and while eating breakfast and getting ready:
- I get the print version of The Dallas Morning News delivered at home, and read it every morning (except Sundays, when I don’t get to it until late afternoon, if at all). I have come to really like The DMN and get more locally-focused and sports news from it than anywhere else.
- I listen to NPR’s Morning Edition radio program most mornings.
Blogs: Rod Dreher (and Not Much Else)
I used to read Andrew Sullivan’s blog almost every day. Now that he has stopped blogging, almost the only blogger I read regularly is Rod Dreher. Rod Dreher is a fascinating and unique writer: a convert to Eastern Orthodoxy living in his native rural South Louisiana who writes about culture from a social conservative point of view.
One of the topics Rod Dreher writes about that I find most intriguing and persuasive is the so-called “Benedict Option”: the idea that Christians in the West today may need to follow the 5th century example of St. Benedict and spend less time participating in politics and the culture wars and more time deliberately cultivating the practices that will “thicken” our faith and deepen our witness. Here is a post from Rod’s blog in July that summarizes his thoughts on the Benedict Option.
Websites I Read Almost Daily
- I read The New Yorker almost every day. I like the short form pieces from folks like John Cassidy and Amy Davidson, but I really prefer The New Yorker for its long-form essays like this one about Northern Ireland that I wrote about in April.
- I also browse The Atlantic‘s website regularly, though I believe that The Atlantic is a much worse magazine since it expanded its online footprint. Many of the online articles seem to be merely a slightly (sometimes very slightly) more serious version of the kind of thing that I suppose you find on Buzzfeed or The Huffington Post, and I do not mean that as a compliment. The Atlantic these days seems to feature quick-reaction pieces on hot-button topics that lack nuance and wisdom. (I’ll say more about my complaints with The Atlantic in part 3 of this series.)
- I browse the Yahoo! main site and scroll through the headlines, particularly about sports and politics.
- I check out the BBC Sport’s soccer page almost daily.
Online Newsletters and Other Sites
- I read movie reviews on Plugged In every few weeks or so. I’m interested in movies, but I like reading reviews from a conservative Christian perspective (a perspective you don’t get from mainstream reviewers). I rarely have time to see movies in the theater anymore, so I find myself reading many more reviews of movies than actually seeing movies.
- I’ve recently discovered Book Notes, a free newsletter from Byron Borger, owner of Hearts and Minds bookstore in central Pennsylvania. Through Book Notes, I’ve stumbled across books that I would never have heard of elsewhere–it’s a great resources.
- I read articles and watch videos the videos on the CrossFit main site several times a week.
Coming in Parts 2 and 3….
Parts 2 and 3 will be about what I regularly listen to and watch and read in print. The above is what I read online on a regular basis. What about you? What makes up your daily media diet?
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