Sure, a lot of people like RSS feeds but it’s just not good enough for me. I prefer the human scan plus a modified RSS feed so what are the abolsute must-read news & information sites I read everyday?
My homepage. It’s a nice autobot scan of the most important news – mostly ranked by the amount of coverage by hundreds of news sources so you get a glimpse of what most news organizations are calling the most pressing news. It’s a nice over-view of it all. You get everything from AP to Reuters to the Economist to the Maine Dispatch.
What’s also interesting is to scroll down and click on the interntional/other language versions of the same effect – you get to see instantly what news is also the same news in France or Hong Kong or the Netherlands. Sadly and strangely Britney & Anna Nicole are “news” everywhere.
Sure, they have had their problems and militant conservatives have a problem with some of their coverage but for indepth news & analysis, they are impossible to beat – even if you believe they have a political slant in their coverage, it’s still interesting to see their perspective. They also offer nice overage on the arts, fashion, lifestyle and our culture.
While there are some on the other side of the political spectrum that rail against the editorials in the WSJ – all I can say it’s a tiny part of the paper and doesn’t affect their genuine devotion to journalism. Whether you agree or disagree with their opinion page, that shouldn’t detract from you reading this site inside out everyday. Anyone who is involved in any decision making in a business – small, large or multinational should be reading the WSJ everyday. In addition to indepth news and analysis of the business of business in which you can gleam useful advice in planning, managing people, managing your career, etc – there are specific tips and case studies for you to learn from. The newest section devoted to your leisure time is a fun and insightful read from auto reviews to the best technology writer (Walt Mossberg) to wines to vacation homes. And as I mentioned earlier, the WSJ is devoted to old school journalism – they do not pull punches when business leaders stray in ethically or legally – they did exhaustive features on the antics of the senior management at places such as Enron and Worldcom. They might be beleve in free markets and free enterprise but they believe in being a true newspaper foremost. $99 a year online, $49 a year if you have a print subscription.
It’s not the fastest site in the world but once it loads, you can get feeds (of your choosing) from a couple hundred sources – essentially an RSS reader but easier to manage than some RSS readers and more straightforward for my tastes.
The new geek community – taking over from SLASHDOT. It’s a little weird, it’s a little wacky, it’s slightly juvenile and while the “diggs” that get ranked higher are not necessarily completely un-manipulated – it’s still an interesting roundup of what’s out there of interest … of course, the bulk is focused on technology, the movies with just a sprinkling of hard news & politics but the best college-age web “magazine.”
A more serious roundup of technology is provided by TechMeme which ranks stories by news & blog discussions – if you want a pulse of what’s news & blog thoughts in technology, be sure and look at it everyday.
The best tech news link aggregator. Sure, a big focus is on Apple but as the technology innovator and leader, most news springs from that direction so it’s a great place to start. It’s comprehensive and easy to follow and offering several hundred news and blog opinion stories everyday.
If DIGG is slightly juvenile, then FARK is 99% juvenile … but in a good way 😉 readers work furiously to write the best descriptions and most are LOL. Fark’s readers and link contributors are pretty much interested in everything and now that they moved “Boobie” sightings to another page, most are SFW 🙂 They do a great roundup of the weird, the wacky, the must-read and the viral videos. The forum comments are always entertaining – full of strong opinions. Fark is the equivilient of the NY POST as staffed by THE ONION.
PopUrls is an news aggegrator of sorts – as it shows the headines with popup descriptions of a couple dozen sites – it’s also interesting to see the same stories that grab readers from Fark to Reddit to Wired.com. Popurls saves you a great deal of time in having to go to other sites that serve a smiliar function of pushing the most “popular” links to the top but are harder to navigate than DIGG or less interesting like FARK. You also get a nice snapshot of the most popular new photos on FLIKR and the hottest videos from YOUTUBE. Nice.
Another community of link contributors is METAFILTER. They also try and gather many resources in the same paragraph without really revealing where the link will take you to … The readers and contributors there tend to be more esoteric and more educated. There are almost always links to art exhibits, photo essays or literature. Almost always educational.
Ironically, it’s success is built upon gathering local news(paper) links and if they become successful, that might be the end of your local paper doing the news gathering so … It is a pretty comprehensive link gathering of your neighborhood news – way more coherent than my hometown paper’s website. Some cities have an editor already in place to sift through the news – others still need an editor. I’m not sure how useful this site might be to you if you live smack-dab in the center of a major metro city but for everyone lse who wants all the local news – Topix is interesting and comprehensive.
A page designed in Windows ’95 (seemingly) but for news junkies of the Middle East region – the stories here seem straight out of Mossad or the CIA with enough indepth knowledge and analysis to scare or depress you. For anyone who wonders how to do a specialized news site – this is the best example – just try and use a design template not from 1995.
For a magazine that was at best middling, it’s rebirth on the web is a huge improvement – it rounds up the best of the web and offers its huge archive of science and sciences news online with thoughtful analysis and easy to read explanations.
A little more geekier than Discover but another nice place to find a thorough and deep analysis of news about science.
And finally – intellectual pop culture:
It helps to be at the center of pop culture, media, fashion, TV & advertising but New York mag never succumbs to laziness in reporting. They take it a step further in analzying and interpreting the direction of where we are headed pop culture and social culture-wise. Not necessarily a daily read but once a week is enough to catch up. While their Despicable-Brilliant-Highbrow-Lowbrow Matrix is brillant, they’ve now added a do-it yourself version to test your weekly zeigeist knowledge.
So, while there are easily a couple of dozen other worthy sites, a lot of the best of the web news and analysis is better picked up and picked through from sites such as MacSurfer, Fark, Digg, etc … that you get the best of the best of the web by going through this list.