Why I Still Read Newspapers

Yes, I still read real PAPER newspapers. I read a great deal of news online, too, but I still read the old-fashioned way. Why? There is something about turning the pages of a newspaper that gives me more —and more to the point— different news. Most weekdays I read the New York Times. It’s the local edition with lots of pages containing metropolitan area stories and even more articles about national and international news.

With all the aggregators, news curators and all the easy ways to tailor news consumption so that the articles I’m likely to enjoy pop to the top of my screen, why am I choosing to page through the stories outside my areas of interest? This is a strategic choice and it serves me very well. It forces me to at least glance at the business news, the top sports stories, the articles about places I’ve never heard of and people I’d find annoying in person.

Those are the wacky stories that inform my fiction. Instead of dwelling entirely in my personal echo chamber of news about theater in NYC, what’s coming to MoMA and why there were helicopters over Union Square last night, I’m reading about a movement to ban books in school libraries in towns I’ve never heard of, a cancer charity fraud that went on for years in South Carolina, how sports/energy drinks are now being marketed to video gamers, startling ongoing scientific investigations, and why so few bankers have been held accountable for the crash in 2008.

Tooling around OUTSIDE my corner of the universe opens up my world. That’s why I supplement the tailored news I know I’ll read with articles I’d never choose to read if I didn’t stumble upon them as I turned my newspaper pages.


  1. That’s a really good idea, actually. It’s a bit weird allowing an algorithm to decide what you’ll be interested in reading based on what you’ve read before. It doesn’t give any space for anything new!

    • Candy Korman

      Exactly! We’re busy creating echo chambers — cozy, comfortable echo chambers reflecting back our political views, our pastimes and more. We all need space for new ideas and perspectives. Weird but true, I sometimes buy magazines that are completely OUTSIDE my usual or make a point of grabbing them in doctor’s waiting rooms. You never know when you’re going to find a weird tale that inspires fiction buried in a finance journal, a parenting magazine or — awful but true — PEOPLE Magazine. hehehehe… I read it for the murders it inspires!

  2. Good points. I always fell behind on the weekly paper, but really do miss getting the Sunday paper to read on a lazy day. It’s disheartening how we all adjust our various social media feeds to customize our news because it really does cut us off from so much and from each other.

    • Candy Korman

      The weekday NYTimes is my way of reaching outside my interests. I know there are other ways —watching cable news that doesn’t promote your POV, going to a store filled with misc. magazines once a week and buying something out of your usual, etc. It’s all about allowing yourself to be intrigued or angered by something unexpected. You’re right on target when you say that the customization of news “cuts us off from so much and from each other.” We are not the society that watched network news and wondered about who shot J.R. The culture is fractured —and some of that is good and interesting and fun —but while it fractures it enables us to become isolated and let’s face it, writers thrive on input that is outside our islands of writing.

  3. Hmm….I’m going to be the odd one out here, but I don’t read the news, or at least not in any newspaper type format. Instead, I watch the ABC news and current affairs programs most nights. If something grabs my interest I’ll search for more info. online.

    Another source of information is the blogosphere, especially when it comes to technical developments.

    We’re swimming in so much information these days that keeping it out is the trick. 🙁

    • Candy Korman

      LOL… yes keeping the flood of information at bay is a challenge. But I NEED my crazy news stories for inspiration. The recent scandal about faked data in a political science study was fantastic. The only thing it was missing was a dead body to make it a twist on the classic mystery story!

      Honestly, I do feel like I’m swimming in information. I’m trying not to drown. Tuning out might help…

  4. I stopped paying attention to most news years ago. I always found it to sensationalistic and many times too depressing. In the worlds I dwell for writing I don’t know that I need much more gloom and doom.

    • Candy Korman

      Gloom and doom? Yes. But also great inspiration for fiction. hehehe… However, my consumption of news right before bedtime has to be limited. Every time I watch a late night news show I get angry (restless, perturbed, anxious…) That part is NOT good for writing. But the wild things that people do, the lengths to which they are driven by greed or lust or envy… those are the stories that filter into my fiction.