Dog Days of Summer: Beach Reads for Journos

While there’s nothing better than a long weekend or a beach vacation, it can be hard to disconnect, especially when your job is to be connected. If you’re a little compulsive like me, you still get a little pang when you’re email starts to ding from your beachbag. So as not to enrage my family and friends, I’ve finally learned to believe in the vacation response: once it’s set on my email, I pretend not to check it.

Instead, I do other socially acceptable things that pertain, sort of, kind of, to my job. It makes me feel better.


I’ve already taken my vacation this summer and passed most of my beach days thumbing through Brian Stelter’s Top of the Morning. If you haven’t already read it, or wrote it off, I strongly urge you to reconsider. It’s a perfect summer read: well-written so you don’t start to snooze in your lounge chair and full of juicy bits of industry gossip. It’s like a James Patterson novel, but you won’t be embarassed if someone sees you eating it up.

If you like to get more serious, Jaron Lanier’s Who Owns the Future? is another good pick.  The guy who coined the term ‘virtual reality’ now expounds on the political economy of the internet as we work with it today. Like Stelter’s book, it’s a quick and easy read — albeit more analytical. And sort of depressing. He likens free internet services to a bad mortgage — we benefit in the short term, but there are long term, serious consequences for our economy. It might make you want to just disconnect for good, or take up arms against ‘consumer internet services.’ If you want a preview, you can listen to an interview with Lanier here.

Play on the Internet

What with all the news coming out of Egypt this week, I saved the Pew Research Center’s report on reddit that they released yesterday. If you talk about social media without really knowing what reddit is all about — and it’s more than just ‘Ask Me Anything’ — then you should probably brush up. Only six percent of Americans are reddit users, but it’s a large, diverse world out there. Maybe you’re in that top percentile and already know this, but if you’re not, it’s a world worth exploring if only for the fact that 1) you’ll take it seriously next time someone brings it up as a way to troll for good stories or sources and 2) it can be sort of fun. Careful: you can waste more time on reddit than on Twitter. And you’re in charge of firing up the grill later.

Do you have any other good recomendations? Books? Podasts we should all be listening to? Comment here or tweet us with your summer distractions!