Media Exposure Self-Screening: The Analysis

Audio – and why I can’t hear ya!

I am not a big fan of radio and other audio news ressources. In Germany I have found a good radio channel that has the right balance of music and news (every hour at the same time and mostly topics I care about). Here in the US, I haven’t found such a channel. I can use the radio for entertainment, if the mood permits. Usually, however, I get very annoyed with it. Fast. Very Fast.

Other audio sources are even worse. The problem with them is that I can’t just skim through and make my own pace. I have to listen to every single word, because I can’t see the rest of it, which takes up way too much time!!

TV and why I leave it off!

The same thing that bugs me about radio is true for TV. TV is fine for entertainment or for “background” (although I generally oppose TV background entertainment). News on the TV are mostly uninteresting (local) and I don’t get CNN at home. Also, I can’t just skip what I don’t like. I’m sorry, but I grew up with books and TEXT.

It is easier with web videos, but I will only go through the trouble of finding those if I am interested in a specific topic. In that case, I am more likely to find a documentary either on DVD or online though.

Print – and why I don’t care!

Although I am a text guy, I rarely buy a newspaper unless I have plenty of time on my hands, which rarely happens. One of the reasons is the “bundle”. I don’t feel like paying for 20 pages when 12 of them are sports! (I don’t care about the ads, those are interesting cultural objects to study). This will even keep me from reading most free newspapers, exspecially student newspapers (both German and American. Many of those are uninteresting to me anyway: they don’t cover my topics, are badly researched and written and very opinionated with little informational value or humor to make up for the boring topics. Hence I go for their online versions, because they are easier to filter through.

Online Ressources – how far I get into it and why headlines save my day!

RSS-Readers are my most important ressource. I get them from Reuters, Tagesschau (Public Broadcasting TV channel in Germany that produces news) and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Major over-regional German paper) in the regional “Rhein-Main edition, which is the one circulating at “home”. Reuters is for news that make the headlines in the US and some international news (although Reuters is stronger on that than other American news, it is still low). Tagesschau is for international and national news. FAZ is mostly for local news. I appreciate the slight overlaps these three sources have, because it gives different perspectives on some of the same issues.

The big plus about the RSS is: I don’t have to go anywhere and get just the headlines delivered! This way I can scan through them and see a) what is happening in the world and b) chose from those reports and go into detail about them. If a topic is intersting, I go from the abstract to the article. If I want to know more or backgrounds, I might try to find a related video or photo report on it. This way I don’t feel like I was news-spamed!

Similar, but not quite as good are newsletters. I have some for certain organizations and group affiliations I want to be informed about. Those are a little more bundled than the headlines and thus cause a little more frustration.

People – and why we should consider them a news source

I don’t have very much time on my hands usually and a very low frustration tolerance on filtering out the news that are interesting to me from the rest of what is out there. I have a much higher tolerance with people though and usually I get my best information from people. I talk with people about news and the headlines I have read and thus exchange information and backgrounds.

Most local news I get through the contact with locals that have the same interests. I’d rather miss out on some local issues than dig myself through everything every day. Many of my hyperlocal (in this case concerning me and my friends) news I get via Email or text messaging, phone calls or IM messages.

I have only recently heard of News-Alerts and will be exploring them. Maybe they can be helpful, but I’m afraid I will get too big an amount of news on one topic this way.

Conclusion

Most of my information I gather from German sources. The reason is a) that I know those better and b) that they cover more of what I find interesting, for example international issues.

The RSS-Readers are my stable source of news nutrients. They ensure that I get a large variety of input. Other than that I am a very unstable news consumant. I pick up bits of news along the way, wherever I happen to be, but I rarely actively search for news unless I happen to be interested in a certain topic, background or ongoing event.

Text is the easiest way for me to process news, because I can skip the boring parts and using the internet I can go into depth about certain issues fairly easy. If I want more depth on something, I will look for it! In that case I will employ different media though. I will mostly search online, but also in the library or video rental. My self-screening does not reflect that, because it was a very busy week otherwise.

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