Information Diet: Chuck Todd

NBC's chief White House correspondent taps into Twitter, downloads newspapers on his iPad


Age 40

Accomplishments NBC News political director and chief White House correspondent; host of The Daily Rundown on MSNBC

Base Washington, D.C.

What’s the first information you consume in the morning?

I wake up somewhere between 4:30 and 5, and the first thing I do is look at my email and start catching up on the overnight. I’m getting dispatches from all over the world, combined with all of the various email alerts that I’ve signed up for. Then I spend another 30 minutes going back eight hours on Twitter. I follow at least one major newspaper in every state in the country.

You weren’t a fan of Twitter when it first launched. What changed?

I’ve done the biggest 180. Twitter is the 21st century wire. I remember the first time I got access to the [Associated Press] 50-state wire in 1992, and at that time, there was nothing like it. Now Twitter is the same way. I’ve made my own powerful, worldwide newswire on politics and international affairs.

Do you think Twitter can affect the outcome of an election?

I don’t think it’s influential in an election. That doesn’t mean it won’t be. But I think it can be influential with the influentials— the left talking to the left, the right talking to the right, the media talking to the media, or some group in between trying to listen to all the various conversations.

Are you a TV junkie, or on an airtime-restricted diet? What do you watch, and how?

I watch TV, but not what you would think. When I come home at night, Nickelodeon or the Disney Channel is on. We’re either watching Good Luck Charlie or SpongeBob, depending on whether my son or daughter has control of the TV. I like to veg out with sporting events or Storage Wars or reruns of Family Guy or Seinfeld.

Which is more nutritious: print or Web?

I read all of the newspapers on the iPad—New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times. But as a way of supporting print, if there’s any half-decent magazine or newspaper that’s gone digital and is looking for subscriptions, I’ve downloaded and paid for that app.

Give us the skinny on your favorite app.

My favorite one with my kids is Stack the States. It’s a great way of teaching your kids states and capitals. My daughter is 8, and she’s really into it, and my son is 5, so he’s not quite ready to start. Most of the games on the iPad and iTouch are games for them—which doesn’t mean that I don’t play them occasionally.

With such a bloated media universe, how do you cut out the fat?

Twitter. If you can’t sell yourself with 140 characters, I’m probably not going to see it. It may be that I’m missing something great, but I think that 85 percent of the time, I’m not. It used to take me an hour and a half to two hours to go through my overnight email. Twitter has helped me cut that way back. I consume more in less time.

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