new york times

So, this past week I read at least two articles from the NYT in attempt to be more “on top” of news. However, what I’ve found: I really kind of hate the news.

Okay, that’s not true. And as soon as I realized that, I tried to figure out what, exactly, I found unappealing, and it all boiled down to this: the layout.

I think that, in today’s world, we’re a little spoiled. At the very least, a good website presents the most interesting news in a appealing, eye-catching format; moreover, it’s usually short, easy to read, and most importantly: easy to navigate. And in all honesty, the NYT could use some help. I mean, look at it! Small font, lack of photos, and a confusing layout are the first three things that come to mind. And when I try to find interesting articles? There’s no easy way to navigate, and it can be incredibly frustrating!

What the NYT does have going for it is that once you’re in, it’s hard to get out — find one or two interesting articles, and those articles will link you to more articles, and soon you’ve been reading for over an hour. Moreover, the articles are (usually) well-written, intelligent, and informative — three things which are severely lacking in many newspapers and magazines.

So, what do I do? I want to train myself to be more up-to-date with the news, but I find the NYT website unappealing, and I know I’ll fall out of habit in just a few days if I let myself — I mean, I already missed two days out of this challenge!

The solution is simple, and partly (mostly) inspired by this fantastic guy who I’ve been seeing lately (see the aquarium post for more on that). There are two parts: one, a more appealing news website; two, making that website my home page.

Pros: Newser has a very appealing layout with colorful pictures and brief, informative headlines which indicate the main gist of the news. If you find yourself interested in a headline, you can click on it for what is usually a very brief article. And then, if you find yourself in need of more information, each article includes its references. The news is updated throughout the day, so you’re unlikely to miss out on major headlines, and a wide variety of news is included — everything from breaking news to celebrity gossip to science news (which I’ve generally found the most interesting over the past week).

Cons: Newser is not quite a “high-class” newspaper. The articles are brief to the point of a summary, and include very little background information. It’s honestly just a snapshot of what’s going on. However, I feel that this can easily be combated by following references and, when necessary, going to big-name newspapers or Google for more information. Other cons would be that the articles are not quite as well written and not always quite as intelligent as those from newspapers such as the NYT. The final con would be that I’m still not getting any local news — not that I was with the NYT, but still: it’s definitely something I should look more into.

So that’s it. I give myself a 6.5/10 for this challenge — 2 points off for each day I missed, but a half-point back for coming up with a solution.


Below are the more interesting articles and the thoughts I had.

“Today’s Lab Rats of Obesity: Furry Couch Potatoes”

Interesting: The studies also found something else that could be important for people — that eating a healthy diet during pregnancy reduced troubles in the offspring. That suggests, he said, that the diet of a pregnant woman matters more than whether she is obese.

“The Unemployed Need Not Apply”

Depressing thought — that the unemployed are automatically at a disadvantage for gaining employment. Where’s the line between “recent and up-to-date experience” and “discrimination.” If a company is receiving 50 applications for one position (just because the job demand is so high and the supply so low), is it wrong for them to screen applicants? Wouldn’t a test be more accurate / less discriminatory (even an online, multiple choice test)?

“Book Lovers Fear Dim Future for Notes in Margins”

This almost makes me want to put notes in the margins of books I read — something I was staunchly against in my youth, and only conceded to when taking notes in margins was almost essential to my English classes. A conversation with a friend about a month or two ago also had me thinking — he’s a grad student, and he and fellow grad students regularly take books out and take notes in the margins — over the course of a semester, they trade the books around and eventually have a conversation in the margins which can, at times, even contribute to the conversations in class.

“100 Years Later, Roll of the Dead in a Factory Fire is Complete”

I studied the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in class last semester and compared it to the tragedy that befell the Twin Towers — two events which were vastly different, but which contained one terrible image in common: the desperate need to escape a burning building, pushing those inside to jump to their deaths. It’s good to know the last victims have been identified in the Factory Fire — it brings a kind of peace to this tragedy which I didn’t expect to find on a Monday morning…

And in case you’re wondering, here is the document where I kept track of what articles I read and the thoughts I had on them.


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