Today I learned that one of my friends applied for food stamps because of the COVID situation. I found out about it from an interview in the New York Times. I think that makes me pretty much the definition of a bad friend.
When I was in J school, we were issued little pamphlets from the New York Times titled How To Read The New York Times. It was very useful, and one of those things that would be useful for people to read today since so many are burdened by information overload.
The instructions went something like this:
Throw away all of the sections you donʼt like.
Put the remaining sections in order of priority.
Look at the headlines on each page. If a headline doesnʼt interest you, move on.
If a headline interests you, read the subhead or the photo caption. If youʼre not interested or arenʼt learning anything new, move on.
Read the first three paragraphs of the article. Move on when you stop learning something new.
This method is still remarkably effective, especially for plowing through a fat pile of Sunday papers.
The only Times sections I toss are the Book Review and the Magazine. I like books, but I want to form my own opinion about them. And the Magazine is just hard to read. The paper is too glossy and the print too small for the stylish lighting in my abode.
Counterintuitively, I find the Sports section quite compelling. Even though I have near zero interest in sportsball, thereʼs always an article in there that is intellectually intriguing. A couple of weeks ago there was a good piece about how “home field advantage” is a thing of the past because teams are so pampered in their palatial practice facilities that even when they play in their home stadium, theyʼre playing on unfamiliar territory. Fun stuff.