IF I was to confess an addiction it would be to reading/listening to/watching news and current affairs.
It started innocently – as a cadet journalist I had to start each work day with at least one story idea. So listening to the radio news and quickly perusing the morning newspaper was essential. Knowing what was in the news, and the latest update on events, is essential to the working reporter, so a constant ear to the radio or eye on the TV supplemented the morning routine. Then there were the newspapers and magazines – woe betide the reporter who repeated a story that had already appeared in print.
In retirement this addiction is impossible to shake. My daily fix is: 5.30am ABC local radio – good for weather; plane arrivals; rail, train or bus dramas; and general current topics; 6am to 9am Breakfast on Radio National for in-depth current affairs, except while I’m at the gym where I watch ABC News 24. Then RN’s Life Matters at 9am followed by Books and Arts Daily at 10am – both excellent for social affairs and arts news, views and events. At 11am a change back to local radio for Conversations with Richard Fidler who unearths some amazing gems with his skilled interviewing style. Then either Local or RN for the News and The World Today, and later Phillip Adams and PM. There are online news websites both local and overseas to be read, and at night the ABC TV News, 7:30, Q & A, Four Corners, and programs such as SBS’s Insight and Dateline. New technology has fed the addiction allowing me to listen to pod casts of programs I may miss – such as Geraldine Doogue’s Saturday Extra which coincides with my weekly date with the Weekend Australian – and the Foxtel feature which allows for two programs to be recorded simultaneously. And I haven’t mentioned the 24-hour news cycle!
A growing dilemma is the trend to paywalls for the major newspaper websites. I don’t begrudge paying for content but having become hooked on clicking happily from The Courier Mail, to the Sydney Morning Herald, to the New York Times, The (London) Times, the (British) Guardian or numerous other sources how can I choose which ones to pay for? Is cold turkey on the menu?