Melody Kramer

People Not In the News Commenting On The News: Meet Lauren

18 Feb 2015 by melodyjoykramer

Meet Lauren Kushner. She works in advertising in Philadelphia, and was the first person to tell me her favorite food. (It’s bread.) Lauren gets a lot of her news from Twitter, but she also READS A TON OF NEWS. Seriously. Go down to the question about what she reads. She is reading everything.

Lauren answered lots of questions about how she gets her news. If you’d like to participate, please let me know. If you want to read the archives, click here.

1. How do you get your news? This is open-ended on purpose.

Twitter is my main source for breaking news. I follow a ridiculous number of news sites, journalists, and media people, so I usually find out about breaking stories well before they are even actual online articles. This is interesting to me, as I’ve only been on Twitter for a few years, but it’s had that much of an impact that it has changed some of my daily habits and I’ve incorporated it into my life.

I learn about things on Twitter, such as the recent NAACP bombing in Colorado, that I wouldn’t have known about for hours, if not days if not for Twitter. I’ve always been a bit of a news junkie. I can remember my very liberal maternal grandfather yelling at the conservatives on TV as a kid. My mom spent Sunday mornings watching Meet the Press, among other programs, and my dad introduced me to NPR as a little girl, so I guess it was instilled in me to value the news at a young age.

Aside from Twitter, I listen to NPR when I’m getting ready in the morning, and in the car if I’m not working from home. I receive way too many emails from various news sites, and I usually read them all after the fact. I do very much like The Skimm, but I often read their blast on Twitter instead of via email. When I log on for the day, I check the NY Times, The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post, and The Guardian. I supplement these sites with some alternative or less mainstream news sources, such as RT, Mother Jones, The Daily Dot, Raw Story, Feministing, Vox, and Mic. For long reads, I really like The Atlantic and The New Yorker. Basically, anything that Ta-Nehisi Coates writes. I also read a lot of other feminist blogs and sites daily, as well as Refinery29 and New York Magazine and all of its offshoots.

2. Please send me a gif or video or poem that captures your attention span.
Here is a poem that one of my friends read after one of our college friends died way too young; it has stuck with me:
Colors passing through us

3. How do you take your coffee?

Tea. Earl Grey with a small amount of milk. Coffee gives me heart palpitations, but I drink it occasionally when I’m traveling outside the US and know it’ll be good and strong. Despite the palpitations.

4. Who’s doing it right in news?

I love the Guardian. It’s probably my favorite newspaper. I used to live in the UK, and the managing partners of the ad agency where I worked were all former Guardian ad sales people. I am so happy I can read it online, and I love Comment is Free. Roxane Gay and Jessica Valenti – among others – are my favorite opinion writers. I also really love NPR. I love Morning Edition and Marketplace. Oddly, for someone who isn’t a “business news” person, they just make business news feel really accessible. Following actual news people on Twitter has greatly enhanced my appreciation for the news, and following activists and other media people who challenge the stories that the traditional straight white male media outlets offer has widened my perspective on what is really happening out in the world.

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

I remember being on a tram in my great aunts’ and uncles’ retirement community in Deerfield Beach, Florida, and hearing the driver say that Reagan was just shot. My family was not a fan of Reagan’s, but it was obviously still upsetting. I would have been 5 going on 6.

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

I reconnected with two college friends after they posted pictures of me on Facebook and I immediately and successfully asked them to take them down. I can be kind of an image control freak, and I am just not fond of old pictures of me, unless they’re from childhood. I also have a love-hate relationship with Facebook. So, after that bit of awkwardness, we caught up and it was great. I felt so loved. We went to a women’s college (Mount Holyoke), and I think those bonds are stronger than those of your average college experience in some ways.

7. Describe yourself a little bit. 

I’m a writer, but not by profession. It is my passion, but I don’t tend to share my writing very often. (I know, neither useful nor the point of writing). I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. One of my college friends recently told me that she still had a business card that my dad had made when we were first-years in college. She kept it, all these years, because she thought it was a pretty awesome thing for a dad to do for his college-age daughter. (The business card said “Writer.” He had a printing company at the time; my friend is now a college professor.) I recently wrote an essay that I may try to publish, but would publish it under a pseudonym, because it’s deeply personal and I am not a put-it-all-out-there kind of person. I am equally passionate about film and would love to make a film someday. I always avoid writing bios on social media because I get stuck trying to describe myself – kinda like now. I guess I am pretty private in some ways. I am an unapologetic feminist, and defiantly pro-choice. Let’s see…atheist, news junkie, ace online shopper/gift giver, eyeliner addict, huge music lover – Spotify premium is one of the best streaming service commitments I’ve made in the past few years (anything but country, please). Love skiing, reading, traveling, cooking, and the way working out makes me feel after I’m done. Bread is my favorite food. I like almost all booze except for tequila. I majored in critical social thought in college and my mom loves to say that I took my major too seriously. I work in advertising and have worked in agencies on the account side for over 15 years.

8. What do you absolutely hate about the news?

Fox News. Major hate for them. Ok, that sounds a little broad brush, but they represent everything I hate about the rightwing media – mostly privileged white conservatives who don’t want to see how the intersectionality of race, gender, sexuality, class, etc. affect society…and I doubt that they ever will. I just find them sad and slightly pathetic. I also hate clickbait – just give me the headline! And I hate sensationalistic local TV news. I won’t watch it.

9. What’s the best podcast or audio to listen to while doing chores?

This American Life. I actually usually listen to music when I’m cleaning. Lately I’ve been trying to catch up on all of last year’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver while cleaning. This is not, as you may imagine, conducive to “fast” cleaning. He makes me laugh so hard my cheeks hurt.

10. How do you get your news when you travel around the world?

Twitter and The Guardian online. And texting friends.

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