Citizen Wausau

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What I Read – Matt Lehman

by on May 31st, 2011

Matt Lehman is the news director for WSAU Radio in Wausau.  He moved to the Wausau area from Minneapolis in 2005.

I am a news junkie.  I HAVE to know what is going on in the world.  I feel uninformed and inadequate if I am out of the news loop.

There are some days where I have a greater need to satisfy my addiction more than others.  But, generally, I am scanning the Web sites of major news organizations to keep up-to-date on the latest developments from the Wausau area (where I live), to Minneapolis (where I grew up), to the rest of Wisconsin, the United States and the world.

You could argue that I am forced to be news savvy because of my job as the news director at WSAU Radio in Wausau.  I regularly anchor four or more newscasts each day.  And, while I could easily rip and read stories from our news wires (in addition to using the local stories that our newsroom gathers), I feel that an awareness of the top stories of the day helps me do a better job conveying their urgency and relevance to you.

While I try to gather news from many sources, there are a few trusted ones that I turn to daily, and often times, more than once a day.  They include the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Minneapolis StarTribune and Facebook.

The New York Times, in my opinion, is my source for in-depth reporting.  Their reporters tackle every angle to a story, regularly offering exclusive details.  Their story writing is informative yet imaginative and compelling enough to keep my attention until the last word.  And, although other news organizations may “beat” the Times to a story, the slight delay in the Times reporting is made up by the time spent diving into a worldwide network of sources and correspondents to flesh out the news and its impact.

I did not think twice about signing up and paying money to read the New York Times when it switched to a subscription-based service on its Web site.  To me, the few dollars a week spent for the right to access their site is worth the trove of information that it yields.

The Washington Post, to its credit, offers solid reporting on issues inside the Beltway.  Its national coverage is good but not as good as the Times.  Too often, I find the Post following up on stories that are in the Times – sometimes quoting the same sources.  The hardcore news consumer in me can tell that it is “catch up” coverage.

One problem I have with the Post and the Minneapolis StarTribune is that both of their Web sites do not immediately present the full length stories. Instead you must click through several pages.  This is especially cumbersome when I view these sites on my BlackBerry.  I like, as the Times does, seeing a story in full length right away rather than having to go through the step of selecting the full length story to begin with.

Though I do not read it as much during the week, I am a voracious weekend reader of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.  Their coverage of news in Madison and around the state is the best in Wisconsin for the same reasons the Times is the best in the country.  The Journal Sentinel’s reporting tells me what I need to know and it gives me more information than I may ever want.  I love that.

I mentioned Facebook as one of my trusted sources.  Often the social media site is the first thing I look at on my phone when I wake up in the morning.  My news feed gives me a sense of what is going on in the world.  And, because I follow some of the local television and print news media, it gives me a heads up on some of the stories that I may have to follow up on when I get to the radio newsroom.

Most of the time, I favor hard news stories – everything from crime to what’s happening in Congress (though the two are often closely related) as well as business, education and health.  On the softer side, I love reading about travel, movies and cooking.  And I won’t shy away from a human interest/feature story.  But those are like a bad movie – if I am not hooked early on, I’ll walk out.

I don’t read as many books as I used to.  But, my book interests mirror my news interests – anything about travel, history, crime/courts, etc.  One of the last books I read was last summer when I finished Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie over the 4th of July weekend.

I cannot imagine going through life and not knowing what is happening.  That is why the news always has been and will be something that is part of my daily diet.

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