Good News? Bad News?

Rupert Murdoch (Courtesy WEF)

A while back, I went on a tear about Fox News and just how bad they are at actually delivering news, and how people who listen to them need to hold themselves accountable.  Since then, I think someone defriended me on FaceBook for the note.  I suppose I had one too many friend.  Fox is part of a right wing media conglomerate controlled by Rupert Murdoch, where his goal is to control the message, and thereby have a strong say in our government.  And he’s very successful through truly deceitful means.  Even the name of the conglomerate is deceitful- News Corp.  It’s not.  It’s lies with a bit of truth sprinkled in to help people suspend disbelief about the lies.  He’s not the first to do it, but seemingly he’s the most effective.  Let’s take a moment to pay tribute to the master, however, William Randolph Hearst, the newspaper magnate.

Is there a good honest news source?   My preferred news sources these days are as follows:

Google News

This is perhaps the most popular news aggregator there is.  Google doesn’t actually do any of the reporting but just groups together related stories, and I can compare points of view based on the source of the story.  Say, Fox versus The Guardian.

National Public Radio

NPR remains a strong source of news with stories that one can listen to on the radio that are more than just sound bites.  They have in depth interviews with key political players as well as scientists.  I have always found their business reporting to be somewhat limiting.  This leads to a more controversial preference.

The Wall Street Journal

William Randolph Hearst

The Journal is the paper of record for business news, even though they are part of News Corp.  It is rare that you read a retraction on a story that matters (I can’t remember one, actually).  But they are a relatively recent addition to the conglomerate, and so the impact has been limited to what stories they choose to report, headlines, and their editorial staff.  Hosting a shady character like Karl Rove immediately disqualifies what was already a colored view, even prior to the takeover.

Note that nowhere in my list are any of the major television networks.  That’s largely due to several factors:

  • I live outside the United States and so my access to network programming is somewhat limited;
  • Their stories tend to be short and lack depth, except for news magazines, which I don’t have access to.

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What's your primary news source?

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WSJ: Let’s Differentiate!

As some may recall, I have had a love-hate relationship with the Wall Street Journal.  Over the years they have had some great news, but their editorials have often been nothing short of ridiculous.  I threatened some time ago to part ways with them, taking my money with me.  Three changes make me think I should go ahead and cancel. First, there are videos now on the Journal home page.  Here’s some news for the newspaper: if I wanted to watch the news, I could turn on CNN.

Today, however, the headline reads, “Dow Jones to Launch ‘Professional Edition’ of Wall Street Journal”.  That’s right, for $45 per month, one can get news for professionals.  To quote the article:

The targeted users are businesses and individuals who need more specialized information about energy or corporate bonds, for example, than is available from, but aren’t the large companies targeted for costlier services by Dow Jones Newswires or Bloomberg L.P.

That all sounds great, except isn’t that why I was already paying $149 per year?  While the reporting on the Journal is good, it’s certainly not as good as it used to be.  And indeed the New York Times has been doing a better job for all but financial news.  I wonder where all the money to start up the new service is coming from?  Might some of it be some of my subscription dues?  Why should I believe this is anything other than a clumsy attempt to create differentiation?  Sort of like when airlines added Business Class.

What’s your source for financial news?  Maybe I should move my money.

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Should I renew the WSJ?

I have enjoyed the Wall Street Journal online edition for many years.  Their reporting was poignant, accurate, and generally kept within the scope of how a particular effort would have some economic impact on peoples’ lives.  There weren’t excessive numbers of fluffy stories, and the right wing bent of the editors was largely kept to the editorial page.  The web site itself wasn’t flashy (pun intended), and gave me a pretty good understanding of the important events of the day.

Seemingly with the takeover of the News Corporation, however, the web site has taken a turn for the worse.  With more flash, more video, and more interactive grahics, it has become hard to actually find the news stories.  With me reading less and less, I wonder, therefore, why I should pay more and more.  The price of the Online Journal this year is going up by a honking 50%.

With the former editor of the Wall Street Journal under the previous ownership now at the Washington Post, I wonder if I should read that web site instead.  And so my question to you; what is your primary news source?  And what is your primary online news source in print?  Aside from the WSJ, I also read the New York Times and Google News.  Of course, one can always count on CNN for the “Man bites dog” stories…

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