Looking for New News by Erin Wade

I sincerely miss The Diane Rehm Show's Friday News Roundup.

I became a news junkie when I was in college. The first Gulf War happened during my time in undergrad. I discovered CNN during that event and, probably more importantly, CNN's Headline News channel. There was a large projection TV in the student union that happened to be in the seating area of the fast food restaurant at which I worked. Once the Gulf War started Headline News was running on that TV much of the time. When I was away from work I found myself turning it on at home as well.

The Gulf War eventually ended, of course, but my attention to news events carried on. In addition to TV I listened to early talk radio - mostly WLS in Chicago) when it rode the wave of conversion from Rock to Talk that seemed to be started by Don Wade (no relation) - and read magazines. As time went on I discovered NPR and found that between Morning Edition, Talk of the Nation, and All Things Considered one could keep the news spigot flowing throughout the day. Radio ultimately won out over TV because I could do other things while listening.

Keeping that spigot flowing every day is something one can do, but it doesn't mean that one necessarily should - it is possible to get drowned in all of that news. While it can be somewhat interesting to be that person who knows who the US Representative is for the third district of a state one has never visited simply because that person is involved in a news story one has heard, it also follows you throughout each day, and can reach the point where it is hard to escape. It's good to be informed, but it's not good when you are wondering about the fate of the McCain-Feingold bill in your spare time.

Probably the only truly useful thing I took from The Four Hour Work Week was the idea of scaling back one's news consumption by getting information from weekly news summaries rather than trying to catch it all over the course of the week. This approach ensures that one remains informed without being washed away in details that may or may not ultimately turn out to be relevant. Ultimately, learning how to do this made me a happier, more relaxed person.

The Diane Rehm Show's Friday News Roundup was, for me, the perfect way to manage that. Diane (or her guest host) would review the week's stories with a panel of journalists. The group had clearly done their homework, and could speak in detail on the topics at hand. Sometimes the group would include a bit of spice as well, such as when David Corn would join and argue with, well... almost everyone. And, as luck would have it, Diane's show was available as a podcast, which removed the need to be listening at a specific time.

Diane Rehm retired at the end of 2016, and with her the Friday News Roundup as well. This left me in a news drought, and this during a time which, arguably, being informed is extremely important.

What I needed, then, was a news program that was fairly objective, came out as a podcast, and offered a perodic (preferably weekly) summary of the news. This turned out to be a harder hill to climb than I expected. There are plenty of news podcasts, of course, but something that offers a summary of the actual news, as opposed to an array of pundits providing their opinions about said news, well - that's more difficult.

For now, I've landed with On Point with Tom Ashbrook. It has a somewhat different format than The Diane Rehm Show - more clips and cuts from the week past. Still, three weeks in I'm finding that it meets many of the same needs for gaining the week's information. Perhaps because it's NPR I'm finding that some of the panelists are the same - this week's show included Susan Page from USA Today, for example.

I'm still evaluating and looking, but for now this seems like home.

John Oliver asks: Who Wants to be a Member of the U.N.?... by Erin Wade

Swing by and check out this clip of the Daily Show's John Oliver interviewing the Palestinian Ambassador about that nation's application to be recognized by the United Nations.

Watch for the flash of realization crossing his face as the Ambassador realizes where John Oliver is heading with his discussion of the thermostat. The Ambassador deserves major kudos for being a good sport.

Incidentally - if you enjoy John Oliver on the Daily Show then you may also enjoy The Bugle, which is his podcast with Andy Zaltzman.