The first step in dealing with addiction is to admit you have a problem. In the spirit of that cliché, allow me to fess up:
“Hi, My name is Mike, and I’m a newsaholic.”
With that out of the way, let me tell you how I get my fix.
When I’ve been away from my PC and other sources of breaking news for more than a few hours, I get the horrible feeling that the world is moving on without me. What’s going on? Did Redmond get wiped out by a meteor shower? Has Iran deployed a missile that can reach Sparta? Did Paris Hilton escape from prison?
As a hardcore news junky, I’ve developed a list of focused web pages that together give me an instant “fix” of every major event in the world.
As you can see, I’m not here to cure you of your news addiction. I’m an enabler.
Here’s my 12-step program for satisfying news addiction.
Step 1. Digg Spy – go to Digg’s under-used “Spy” page and de-select the red and yellow checkbox items, leaving the blue and green ones checked. This feed, updated more frequently than once per second, shows you new stories Digg users have posted and voted for. The hottest stories will be repeated most frequently. By watching this feed, you’ll get an overwhelming sense of what’s happening on Digg in just two or three minutes. Lean on the Ctrl key, and click to open major stories in a new tab to read them without stopping the feed.
Step 2. Drudge Report – Drudge Report is an oldie but a goodie. The site is the news industry’s dirtiest and worst-kept secret. Nearly every major news editor and reporter keeps this site open nearly all day. As such, the Drudge Report is hands-down the single most influential page on the Internet. Checking this site will tell you what the TV talking-head shows will be talking about tonight, and what the newspapers will be talking about tomorrow.
Step 3. Alert Map – This interactive map of the world shows you where bad stuff is happening right now — natural disasters, terrorist attacks and more. Click on links for stories.
Step 4. News Now’s Live Feed – One of the most underappreciated pages on the Internet, the News Now Live Feed rounds up a huge number of news links on all topics from dozens of countries, and auto-updates every five minutes.
Step 5. Reddit – Reddit is another Web 2.0 social bookmarking site, but a really good one for a fast snapshot of what people are talking about in both tech and beyond. The page gives you the 25 top stories listed in order.
Step 6. Technorati’s Popular News – This page will offer up the blogosphere’s most linked-to stories on the Internet.
Step 7. Yahoo’s Most Emailed – Yahoo has multiple ways to slice-and-dice “popular” news, but “Most Emailed” to me is the best and most compelling.
Step 8. Google’s Most Popular – This page will cut through the muck and point you to just the top 20 stories.
Step 9. Tailrank – If you like celebrity gossip and tech news mixed in with your international current events, Tailrank is awesome.
Step 10. BBC World News – Kick it old school with the BBC online. Some stiff Brit shovels out international news every half hour in what is easily the most reliable and unbiased reporting found anywhere, with incredible features and interviews in between. Best of all, you’re hearing the same reports millions are hearing across the globe. (Note that the audio feed requires Real Player.)
Step 11. CNN’s Latest News – In the center of the page, you’ll find the “Latest News” box, which has two tabs: “Top Stories” and “Most Popular.” Together they offer a complete mix of current links to some of the most important or interesting stories.
Step 12. LiveLeak – When other media only talk about news-making videos, LiveLeak will show them to you — uncensored. There’s a lot of junk videos on LiveLeak, but also a lot of super-relevant breaking-news videos. Warning: This site is not for children or the squeamish.
There you have it. My 12-point program to cure all your news cravings!