Real Life: Do You Watch the News?




When I was growing up, I used to watch the news every evening. My mother would come home from work, and I’d wander into her room and sit on her bed while she changed clothes and had the evening news playing. It turned into a thing — we’d watch the local and national news virtually every night, the anchors becoming our regular dates each evening. This was in the 90s, before there was such a thing as the 24 hour news cycle.

This past weekend, Joe and I were catching up on VICE, a great news magazine series that’s broadcast on HBO. We started watching the first season last year, but fell off the wagon somehow. Now, I can’t remember why. I love how VICE’s segments are produced and the topics they’re reporting on…even when they’re disturbing or difficult topics to cover.

After the show, Joe and I sat chatting about the news in general, and the reasons we never watch it. I went on a mini-rant about how what was said on another HBO show, The Newsroom, is totally true — that the press is essential to a well-informed electorate (read: democracy), and how can mainstream media not have reported on some of the things VICE has covered, etc etc etc. Joe pointed to CNN, and how after September 11th, the 24 hour news cycle just became a THING, and when the real news ran out (as it’s wont to do if you’re reporting 24/7), the filler came in, and with the filler came higher audiences, and you know the rest.

“We check the news on,” Joe said, to which I replied, “Yes, and this past week, they literally ran a huge headline that said ‘NO NEW LEADS’ in regards to the Malaysian Airlines plane crash.” CNN, the most trusted name in news, reported that they had no new leads. This was news.

We definitely renewed our commitment to watching programming like VICE more, and decided we’d even try watching a few evening news programs, just to see the types of things they’re reporting on these days and how they approach the topics. But more than anything, I realized I missed the news of yesteryear. It made me wonder — do you guys watch the news? Where do you get your information from? Do you watch shows like VICE, or know of any other programs that are doing a great job reporting on topics that other media outlets don’t cover? This can be a touchy subject, since so many outlets these days often take on particular political slants…so let’s leave that part out (and please, be kind to one another below). What I wanna know is, are you watching or reading the news, and if so, where are your favorite places to do so?

Image Credits: Newspapers 1 2 3 by Jon S, NS Newsflash via Flickr, used under Creative Commons 


  1. 3.26.14

    This is such an interesting post! I’ve wondered some of these same things for awhile now. I too used to watch the national news every single day with my dad, and then when I got to high school and started having sports practices after school that kind of stopped. Same with reading the newspaper… used to do it daily. I ended up interning for one of the national news programs a couple of years ago, and it definitely made me miss the more traditional outlets. I do end up getting most of my news from the internet, but when I’m home in time, love turning on the TV to catch the national news!

  2. 3.26.14
    Laura said:

    Good to know about VICE. Morning news programming is always about Bieber’s latest arrest, local news is sad coverage of gang activity and construction updates, and evening programming always feels very political (in both directions!) I read the Skimm every morning to get an overview, follow up on the big stories and call it a day.

    • 3.26.14
      Victoria McGinley said:

      Great rec with The Skimm! I used to subscribe to it, but recently stopped because sometimes the writing style wasn’t my jam. But I agree, it’s a great resource!

  3. 3.26.14
    jillian said:

    hah o man i watch the AM news…and my husband and i watch brian williams every day AND the evening news for the weather. it’s pretty crazy but i love knowing whats going on in the world and in our city. xo jillian – cornflake dreams

  4. 3.26.14
    Chelsea said:

    I don’t watch VICE, but now I’m going to have to add it to my news watching. I typically have on the news in the backgrounds in the morning (it’s the first thing that I turn on in the AMs) and then throughout the day, I have a newsfeed on twitter devouted to news outlets (AP, NPR, CNN, Huffington Post, NY Times, etc.) which I check perdiodically to see what is going on in the world. I couldn’t agree more how important being well-informed by balanced sources is to an informed community.

    • 3.26.14
      Victoria McGinley said:

      Ooh, the separate newsfeed via Twitter is a great idea!

    • 3.27.14
      Emily said:

      You can have separate news feeds on Twitter? Where have I been? Great idea!

  5. 3.26.14

    Great post! I was never a big news watcher, but I used to read the newspaper every morning religiously growing up and into college. When everything went online, so did I. But I have been meaning for a while to get back into the habit of picking up a paper on the weekends. It’s definitely interesting to see how society’s methods for obtaining information has changed so dramatically over the past 20 years.

    My therapy clients often complain about watching the news because it triggers anxiety, panic and depression due to the often upsetting content and images. I usually recommend for them to read rather than watch the news as it can be too stimulating.

  6. 3.26.14

    My husband & I don’t really watch the news but we both have jobs where its required to constantly be up to date on issues so end up reading a ton. I’m actually trying to do better about reading even more but as I’m a government teacher this is kind of part of my job! I don’t have any groundbreaking places to read but will say you need a variety of sources.

    Or just the AP app- basics, without a lot of the b.s. opinions thrown in. It’s a good thing to have to skim!

  7. 3.26.14
    ame said:

    We watch VICE, Bill Maher, Daily Show, Colbert, Frontline, Inside Man with Morgan Spurlock (it’s really good!) and listen to NPR and BBC and other foreign news broadcasts because otherwise it’s just a bunch of manufactured rhetoric, and not news. I don’t give a shit about Justin Bieber or what the Kardashians are up to. I also don’t want to hear the same PR talking point repeated by the talking heads over and over on any of the stations. But seeing real news really well put out there, and also the current churn mocked well by Jon Stewart, Bill Maher and Stephen Colbert (they are equal opportunity mockers)…that is good stuff.

    • 3.26.14
      Victoria McGinley said:

      We watch Bill Maher too! It’s a great program, but as I’m sure you will understand — some weeks are better than others (definitely a show that is panel dependent!).

      • 3.27.14
        ame said:

        SO true. There are panels where we see who’s on it and don’t even bother watching and fast forward to New Rules.

  8. 3.26.14
    Tab said:

    I have been a news and information junkie my whole life and ended up majoring in journalism-radio, TV, Film-News and Public Affairs. But, over the last couple of years I’ve found myself drifting away from watching much TV news, it’s all so darn slanted one way or another, there’s doesn’t seem to be anyone that “just” reports the news. Whether local or national everyone seems to have to put their spin or editorial thoughts into stories. I watch local news just to get weather information and occasionally tune in NBC nightly news. We just returned from a two week trip in the UK and have started watching BBC World News. They report news from all over the world, they give the facts, do interviews and move on to the next story. I miss the days of “just the facts ma’am” and good in depth interviews, I’ll definitely be checking out VICE.

  9. 3.26.14
    Lily said:

    Interesting thoughts on that CNN headline… I am guilty of getting the bulk of my news from HuffPost and Jezebel, two not entirely objective sources. But when necessary, I do my research! I try to stay informed. :)

    xo Lily

  10. 3.26.14

    I am, admittedly, pretty bad at keeping up with my day to day news. I know it’s no excuse, but I just find it SO depressing! I’ve recently started getting The Skimm emails and though their peppiness is obnoxious at times it’s a great way to keep up with daily happenings around the world. I need to check out this Vice show though!

  11. 3.26.14
    Sonya said:

    Growing up, we watched the news every night as my parents were cooking, etc. I watch CNN every morning while I am getting ready now. Well it’s on my tv loud enough for me to hear as I’m wandering around my apartment getting ready. Before I downgraded my cable package, I actually preferred watching the morning news on BBC America, France 24 or CNN International. It isn’t the bias for me, it is the wide variety of things that are reported on that American news channels completely gloss over. I want to know what is going on in the world, not just the Western world.

  12. 3.26.14

    Love this! Knowing the news makes for a more well-rounded person I think. I like news that is short, sweet, to the point and factual – minus too much drama. So I personally love The Nightly News with Brian Williams. It’s only 30 minutes and it usually ends with an inspirational story. My parents watched the Today Show when I was younger and that has carried over to me. I usually have it on in the background every morning so I can start the day by knowing what is going on in the world.

  13. 3.26.14

    VICE sounds exactly like what Sri and I have been looking for. When we had cable, I watched Hardball pretty religiously every day. I still watch Meet The Press weekly, which is my favorite way to spend Sunday morning. My husband is hyper-disciplined about reading the NYT and WSJ every morning – I’m more of a weekend newspaper reader. We try to send each other an article every day, and discuss it in the evening. His are more business or world news focused, and mine are more cultural or an opinion piece.

    • 3.26.14
      Victoria McGinley said:

      I love this idea of finding an article you want to discuss and sending to one another! I’ll see if I can get Joe on board :)

    • 3.26.14

      Love this idea. I’m totally copying you and trying to get my husband on board!

  14. 3.26.14
    Erin said:

    My boyfriend and I have a habit of flipping on the NBC evening news while we’re unwinding from our days and cooking dinner. Not exactly hard-hitting, but it at least gets us thinking and talking about some things that are going on in the world. We like it. :)

  15. 3.26.14
    Jen said:

    Great post! As I’ve gotten older I find that it’s so important to keep up with what’s going on in the world. I watch Good Morning America every day from about 7:15-8:00AM. I find that during this hour they are generally focussing on actual news and less “soft stories”.

    I also subscribe to The Skimm and occasionally read The Everygirl’s “In the Know” posts for a good recap of the week.

    xx, jen

  16. 3.26.14

    I read theSkimm every morning and I really love it. I usually click on one or two links and read more about it. The rest of the news in the world I usually hear about through coworkers, my mom, and even twitter. I follow my local news sources on twitter and I have an app that sends me breaking local news.

  17. 3.26.14
    Juliette said:

    Newspapers seem to have the better ‘news’ for me as they seem more focused on their content then the verbiage that comes w/the spoken reports. But I always check the BBC headlines, once in the AM and once at night.

    The NYT, LA Times, and Washington Post are where I go for US news; The Atlantic Monthly and Harpers for interesting long journalism.

    I also like The Guardian (UK).

    I usually also do a quick check of my local newspaper’s website every few days.

    The major American news networks just really put me off years ago w/what (to me) feels like too much sensationalism and obvious bias.

    Interesting post! =)

  18. 3.26.14
    Mai-Brit said:

    Such a great topic. After my husband and I watched the Newsroom it brought these same thoughts/questions to our minds. We both read many outlets (Skimm, NYT, etc.)but have found our favorite new source is CBS Morning News. It has Charlie Rose at its helm and they do a great job of providing just the news, no fluffy/rating based pieces like the Today show. They do a great job of presenting an unbiased but educated stance on many of the issues. Of all the news programs on air – both cable and network – I think it comes the closest to the programs of yesteryear.

  19. 3.26.14
    Bethany said:

    Such an interesting topic. We watch the news sometimes but tend to get most of our news from the AP app or Twitter. I get frustrated with both political slants in the media and just wish there were such a thing as honest, truly unbiased reporting. I just feel like both sides are getting farther apart and pandering to the extremes. Not all news, of course. Just a lot of it. Can’t we all just get along? :) I did love watching the first few episodes of Newsroom, but then it got a bit agenda-ey for my tastes.

  20. 3.26.14

    I watch BBC news every morning while I’m having my breakfast. I like to know what’s going on in my home country (France), where I live (the UK) and the rest of the world. I’ve been used to having the news on at some point during the day since I was a little girl so I guess I kind of carried the tradition with me when I moved into my own apartment and then later on with my boyfriend.

    This morning was highly disappointing though since all they talked about was the Gwyneth Paltrow/Chris Martin divorce… I have to say the “conscious uncoupling” wording was quite funny though!


  21. 3.26.14
    India H. said:

    Honestly, I HATED the news until I started working at my local news station as the social media/ website person. Now, when I’m at home, I’m always eager to watch the newscast because I know these people, and I’m more aware of how different problems affect people around me.

  22. 3.26.14
    christin said:

    i like to read russia today, i know, sounds ridiculous. but i think, aside from all the goings on with russia & the ukraine that it gives another perspective on american news. also the daily mail and the guardian based in the UK.

    • 3.26.14
      Victoria McGinley said:

      That’s really interesting! I’ll have to check that out.

  23. 3.27.14

    Did you know that VICE started as an alternative magazine in Montreal about 20 years ago? I used to read it as a teen :) I didn’t even know they had a TV show but I’ll definitely check it out! I remember they used to have pretty cool short documentaries on their website a few years ago… Thanks for the rec!

  24. 3.27.14

    I used to watch everyday growing up as well but now I mainly get my info online or through one of my clients (who’s a news fanatic). I know my mom still watches it when she gets home from work…I think that’s a parent thing. I also had to unsubscribe from The Skimm–nice concept but it’s one thing to summarize the day’s events, another to dumb it down (a little too ditzy for me to wake up to). All being said, it is important to know what’s happening in the world.

  25. 3.27.14
    Jenny B said:

    This is why I love your website. No offense, but you’re not just a pretty face! I try to listen to NPR as much as I can, to me they are wide ranging and usually get important knowledgeable guests on without a lot of rhetoric. I miss the days of the old trustworthy news anchors and news that seemed to come without an angle, just the facts.

  26. 3.27.14

    I do not, but mostly because in my country (Spain) the news aren’t really news anymore. Lots of the social issues aren’t being reported, or are being misreported, and news aren’t trustworthy at the current time. I mostly get my information from newspapers (digital editions for the most part) and the internet. I follow many freelance journalists and although, of course, they aren’t objective either, it’s a lot easier to contrast information between them and try to get a better image of what it really is like out there. I do miss watching the news, but on the other hand, my busy life leaves me with very little time to actually sit through 40-50 minutes of news at once and pay attention without having to do something else :)

  27. 3.27.14
    Emily said:

    So timely Victoria! I have a draft of a post on “where do you get your news?” You beat me to the punch, girl! :)
    I do get a lot of news online, but I also watch the local evening news in St. Louis probably a couple times a week when I get home (while cooking dinner). I just find it so depressing that even local news stations are trying to get into the sensationalized news game that CNN has built. Ugh.
    One show I would recommend is the PBS Evening News Hour. Straight 90’s! Seriously. Most people think it’s boring, but they actually reports the news- can you imagine?
    Great post!

  28. 3.31.14
    Ceri said:

    Great post! I was raised in the US in a house that had a newspaper on the table every morning and we watched a variety of news programming. I live in the UK now, where we are very lucky to have the BBC and the great reporting/editorial direction that comes with it. I’m curious – has Al Jazeera English caught on at all in the US yet? If you can get it, I really would recommend at least giving it a shot.I travel a lot to Africa and the Middle East and often find that they will cover stories in much more detail than even the BBC does and they will spend time providing a more critical analysis if need be. This is one thing that drives me nuts about “24 Hour” news networks in the US – 15 seconds and they’re on to the next piece, no analysis at all!

  29. 4.1.14
    Jessica said:

    Hi, Vanessa!

    This is a fascinating topic to me as a former journalism student. I actually opted out of following that career path because I realized that what I was learning in school and what was actually happening in the media were two totally different things. Anywho, I get my news from the local newspaper. It might sound quaint, but there’s something about the smell of a newspaper and the sound of the pages crinkling as they’re turned that makes all the bad news seem a little less daunting.


  30. 4.2.14
    Alexis said:

    I have a handful of friends who I know for a fact wouldn’t even know that we went to war if someone didn’t specifically tell them. I have definitely gone through moments of being less aware than I’d like to be so it’s a constant effort to remain informed. I discovered that the best way for me to regularly watch the news is to turn on the morning news on my iPad (my cable company has an app that lets you watch live TV, I assume most do at this point) and prop it right on my bathroom counter. I keep it on while I’m getting myself ready for work which isn’t a terribly long time but it’s better than nothing. I’m an NBC news girl and love the New York local show at 6am and the Today Show afterward.
    I also think that having at least one or two news apps that give you alerts on my phone helps. At least I’m aware of the big headlines as they happen.
    Lastly, this e-mail service called The Skimm is amazing! It’s just a plain text e-mail you get every single weekday morning with all the important news that you should know to avoid looking stupid!


  31. 4.4.14

    Hi, I just discovered your blog and I must compliment you on such a great topic! I love fashion and decorating and cooking (my blog is just getting started and I cover all those too) but how nice that you got everyone thinking and talking about something with a little more depth!! My husband and I used to watch the nightly news religiously but then when we had kids it seemed a little too intense when they were little, so we stopped. We also used to get a paper, but again, as the kids got bigger and we got busier it got harder and harder to read so we stopped that too. Right now I am very into NPR radio news and that is where I get most of mine as I am in my car quite a bit everyday. We do also still get the LA Times 3 days out of seven. However, the other thing I love is TIME magazine. Since it’s “world” news but consolidated, I feel like I really get a more well rounded knowledge of what is going on in more than just the U.S., which I like. I’ve read such good suggestions from your readers that I’m going to try VICE, The Skimm and some of the others. And to Alexis above, I also have friends who definitely don’t know what’s going on AT ALL which I find scary. So good to read that all these women above are educated, interested and concerned about what is going on! I am really inspired by this….

    Thanks for sharing and I will look forward to reading your blog more in the future….

    Sheila Irwin

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