Melody Kramer

People Not in News Commenting on the News: Meet Dan

20 Jan 2015 by melodyjoykramer

Dan Angelucci is a short man who lives in South Jersey and works in video. He made this carrot parody, which I thought was absolutely hilarious. Dan shoots, directs, and edits films. As he puts it, “Lot of promo videos, commercials, and corporate kinds of things.”

You should follow Dan on Twitter. He’s hilarious and thoughtful. I asked Dan if he would answer a few questions about how he gets his news. He responded, “This is exciting! I have highfalutin ideas about media consumption, and no one ever asks me. So get ready for a filibuster.”

(If you don’t work in news, live outside of DC/NYC, and would like to participate, let me know. The rest of the series is here)

1. How do you get your news?

Upon thinking about it, I realized I don’t have like one consistent way that I get “breaking” news. It’s oftentimes Twitter, and also very frequently Digg. I also vociferously listen to public radio and podcasts. The NPR block at the top of the hour is where I tend to get most of my news in digest form. And then I listen to podcasts like The Gist, The Slate Gabfest, and On The Media for further digestion and analysis.

2. Please send me a gif or video or poem that captures your attention span.

Is this cliche? This is kind of the gold standard for short-attention spans. (Ed note: Four people have submitted this so far. It’s not cliche but it is telling.)

3. How do you take your coffee?

I use an Aeropress, a Baratza Encore grinder, and a scale, so I am pretty finicky about coffee, but I just take it black.

4. Who’s doing it right in news?

I think there’s definitely a thoughtfulness that pervades NPR as a news organization, but it’s not just NPR (and oh, Melody, you better believe I’m one of those people who knows the difference between PRX, PRI, and NPR). I tend to think that people working in audio are just more thoughtful about the news, and expressing ideas. An example of this is Slate. I think a lot of their editorial content, specifically the contrarianism, feels stunty and laughable. But their podcasts don’t feel like that at all- I think they’re great. Maybe there’s something about talking to other people, and having to put your ideas out in physical air that makes you think about them more?

On a similar note, I think This American Life in general deserves a special nod for news. They are always telling really great, really important stories that it feels like no one else is even considering touching. And no one tells a story better than them. I work in video, and the gap between video storytelling and audio storytelling is enormous (and frankly, embarrassing for video people). Audio storytelling is consistently better, and it’s not even close.

5. What’s the first news event that you remember?

I remember asking my dad at a family party whether Bill Clinton won or not. This was 1992.

6. What was the best thing that happened to you this week?

Well, we got a dog. It’s been a kind of sad news week otherwise. But Toby is doing well. As of this writing, he has not pooped yet, but we are waiting to be concerned.

7. What do you absolutely hate about the news?

I tried to make a parody web series that was like if puppets were running a cable news network, and one of the reasons that we couldn’t really get it to work after 8 or so episodes was that we could never really bring ourselves to watch cable news.

There’s nothing inherently bad about 24 hour news networks. There’s kind of a canard that “cable news is bad because there isn’t enough news for 24 hours,” but that’s not really true at all. There’s so much news out there, and it’s not being covered. I imagine most people, myself included, feel they’re very under informed about the news, and there’s always something going on that we could learn more about. The problem is that cable news absolutely focuses on the wrong things.

Not to keep making this about a medium that I don’t even work in, but public radio doesn’t seem to have any problem filling 24 hours with genuine news content.

11. What’s the best podcast to listen to while doing chores?

Either Startup or the Gist. I listen to one of the two when I clean up after dinner. Both are illuminating and captivating, but don’t need our focused, full attention the way that Serial does.

12. How do you get your news when you travel?

Usually nothing about how I get my news changes when I travel. I may get a magazine on the plane, that’s probably the biggest difference. I learned a lot about ISUL when we flew back from our honeymoon, because we didn’t have cell signal and I read every single article in Time magazine so that it was worth the money.

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