“Curated” News Apps & Sponsored Content

In Apple News I came across the following (WARNING: don’t click unless you want to be marketed at): How to become the ‘spreadsheet master’ of your office. It’s a sales pitch disguised as a news story with a click bait-y headline displayed as significant in a (I think) curated news aggregator.

I’m curious what Apple and Google and the others do to judge the value of articles and by what criteria. Sitting here telling Apple what sources are garbage based on click bait and aggressively “sponsored” content can’t be the best solution.

Also on:

Dear InfoSec & Tech Journalists …

Get to the point early. If you can’t, rewrite it so you do. Don’t make yourself part of the story. How you got here is useless exposition.

You’re a blogger? The same holds true. As a reader I don’t care about the subtleties differentiating the two.

Depressing Ratio

[https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/significant-digits-for-friday-june-1-2018/](Significant Digits For Friday, June 1, 2018)

12 minutes, 3 seconds

On Tuesday, two things happened: A New England Journal of Medicine article by Harvard researchers argued that the death toll from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico was most likely thousands higher than the official number of 64; and Roseanne Barr, the sitcom star, was fired for a racist Twitter rant. According to the watchdog group Media Matters, CNN devoted nearly five hours to discussing Roseanne, and just over 12 minutes to discussing Puerto Rico. The other cable news networks, Fox News and MSNBC, were similarly lopsided, with Fox spending just 48 seconds on the Puerto Rico study. [Media Matters]

This is messed up.

Just Read

From Quartz:

Here’s how much time a single American spends on social media and TV in a year:
608 hours on social media
1642 hours on TV
Wow. That’s 2250 hours a year spent on TRASH. If those hours were spent reading instead, you could be reading over 1,000 books a year!

The numbers are compelling. Arguably, even if one reads within one’s own bubble they will be exposed to thoughts and ideas outside of their preconceived notions simply because no one is 100% dogmatic in exactly the same way.

The impetus for the article is this quote from Warren Buffet, very much de rigueur:

Read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will…

I’m on board. While it may seem obvious I will say it anyway: You don’t have to read. Audio books are just as good though harder to underline meaningful passages.

My path and recommendation to you, Dear Reader, is a bit different: Reduce the number of books per year but add in reading the capital-N News daily.

I subscribe to and read the New York Times, the Washington Post (JP), the Japan Times (with which I get the New York Times), and the Guardian (JP Weekly). I also read the Atlantic Monthly (JP) and am thinking about picking up the Economist again, which I used to always look forward to reading each week. Yes, I am that cool.

My big change is moving my news consumption to the evening once I arrive home. I find I get too wound up/depressed/angry when I read the News in the morning, thus ruining my day. Tech news, security news, and bits I need for work I read anytime.

Also I make use of podcasts: NPR hourly news update & Up First, NHK English news, the various APM Marketplaces, The CyberWire, the SANS Internet Storm Center Stormcast, The Daily from the New York Times, and the BBC World Service Newshour. I play these at 1.5 speed or faster with the two security podcasts, NPR hourly update, and the NHK news at the top. I start playing it as I leave the office. By the time home and finished with dinner the podcasts have updated me nicely.

How do you manage your #InfoSec #CyberSecurity #Privacy #Policy #Security news intake?

I’m in the process of reevaluating my news feeds. The method is much the same as evaluating Cyber Security threat intelligence feeds. Is it:

  • Timely?
  • Accurate?
  • Actionable?
  • Updated?
  • Adding value?

I categorize my information intake in several ways:

  • News
  • Analysis, Editorial & Opinion (most blogs, podcasts, and personal social media feeds)
  • Technical
  • Press releases

With all of this, I find myself overwhelmed with data. Much is redundant and not adding value. Some adds value but isn’t timely. Some opinion is fopped of as news. Branded content permeates.

What sources do you use? How to you consume them? How do you value them?

Echoing Click Bait

A friend pointed out to me that an article I shared was little but click bait. I admit to only skimming the content before posting. I do that.

Unless a URL I post on social networks refers to prjorgensen.com, pvcsec.com, or one of my other sites directly, I apply cursory or less verification as to the authenticity, veracity, quality, security, or reliability of the data.

The journalist in me WANTS to vet everything I post via all the media. I lack the time.

What do you do? How do you not echo click bait?

Comment here or hashtag #askpvcsec on Twitter.

Also on:

Why I Get More Than One (Virtual) Paper

James Fallows from the Atlantic Magazine wrote here, here, and here about why he gets more than one newspaper.

What he plainly shows in his posts is one of the first things my journalism professor at Oklahoma State made us aware of. In fact, we had to subscribe to at least two Oklahoma papers and at least one national paper. My local choices were The Daily Oklahoman (I think it’s just The Oklahoman these days), the now defunct Tulsa Tribune, the Tulsa World, and I think the Stillwater NewsPress. My national papers were USA Today and The Wall Street Journal.

I didn’t actually subscribe to all of those. A friend in the dorm had a girlfriend (Jen?) who was in my journalism classes, so she and I and a few other classmates split subscriptions, handing papers around. That’s not the point.

The point is that it built up a habit in me. I still consume a lot of print news in a given day. The difference lies with how I consume that news.

Going through three print newspapers every morning and three more in the evening consumed a huge chunk of time. I quickly figured out a method of scanning the papers. Even as my academic career careened off the girl-shaped cliff that became my ex-wife I still read the news. My consumption waxed and waned as life moved on but I always stayed up on current events.

These days I use technology to make my news consumption far more efficient.

This leads into a larger “What I Read” post that is forthcoming. Stay tuned!