Originally posted on Forbes.com.
Years ago, one of the New York City tabloids ran a profile of me that emphasized what a news junkie (read: addict) I then was—six papers a day, cover to cover, plus a constant stream of news through my email, news feeds and social media, which I would pick up on my two BlackBerrys and various computers. I had no ability to turn off the news.
Flash forward to 2015, a year when everyone is more constantly connected than ever, and I’ve finally found balance.
I haven’t given up news altogether—that would be madness, given my career. I’ve become comfortable with letting a few trusted sources curate it for me, intelligently feeding me the stories that matter to me. This is better than letting my Facebook and Twitter feeds determine which stories I see, and it allows me more time to focus on work, family and other fulfilling endeavors. (And it gives me more time with “Love It or List It,” “House Hunters International” and “Property Brothers,” my newest media addictions.)
The idea of a thoughtful human being (one whose worldview I generally share) scanning the universe of news for me and presenting it in a rational order is extremely appealing. Many media brands are great at delivering relevant stories and information, but the challenge is the order in which they feed it to me.
I fell in love with LZ Sunday Paper because it seems to know my nonlinear brain. I like knowing that there’s a smart, savvy curator with a great mindset involved, someone I think of as LZ rather than Lauren Zalaznick. She finds things I wouldn’t find on my own—the weekly newsletter from this former movie producer and cable network president features articles from a variety of sources (from The New Yorker to Jezebel, xoJane to TechCrunch) about women in media and technology—and has encouraged me to think differently, less judgmentally, about some of the questions surrounding women in Silicon Valley. And I love that sense of discovery and feeling that LZ is sharing what interests her with her friends and colleagues.
I’m not alone: LZ told the Los Angeles Times last year that her mailing list was into the thousands of women and men. Her reach has grown organically and steadily since.
It’s not just that she makes the world more manageable but also that she makes it more fun. LZ has written that her aim is to produce something that’s “[s]ometimes inspiring, entertaining, shocking, hilarious, but hopefully always worth reading” and promises at least one good laugh every week.
The one that struck me in a recent newsletter—perhaps because I was setting off on a week that saw me on six flights in seven days—was a New York Times story she picked up about the decline of flight attendant fashion. Although the story itself wasn’t huge news to me (I’ve been on enough planes to know that the days when stewardesses wore white gloves are long gone), knowing that it struck her as worth reading and sharing with her followers made me consider it differently. “It washes the flight attendants right into the walls,” in the words of one fashion writer interviewed in the story. Maybe the change isn’t the unalloyed victory for feminism we once thought it was.
My other favorite new site is Need 2 Know, an aggregator that aims to be the “Cliffs Notes for news,” finding the most relevant stories about news, sports, entertainment and even viral videos and summarizing them into what’s important. Like LZ, its creators strive to “make the news fun, with jokes, commentary and pop culture references that keep things light … hence our catchphrase, ‘News Over Easy.’”
They absolutely understand the stories that I am following and provide me with a credible snapshot of what major news outlets, from CNN to People, have to say. A day’s newsletter might jump from the terrorist attacks in Paris to the polar vortex to the NFL’s domestic violence issues, and the tone varies to stay appropriate for each of them. But even when reporting on serious, sad news, Need 2 Know isn’t bland like CNN can be (although CNN.com is still very much one of my go-to brands for the facts). It’s also not salacious like my beloved New York Post can be. It lets me have a little fun with news discovery without making me feel guilty or embarrassed about taking a hit of brain crack.
In other words, it’s perfect for news junkies like me.