Periodical Reading Matter

I read lots of things - books, magazines, newspapers; some more regularly than others. Herewith, another list:


I've been smitten with webzines lately.

Newspapers - Daily

Of these, I only read the Chronicle regularly (nearly every day); the others I pick up as time or circumstances allow. The IHT, for example, is published jointly by the New York Times and The Washington Post for distribution all over Europe. About twice a month I'll pick up the business section of The San Jose Mercury News, but overall I find that an inferior newspaper to the Chronicle.

I only read USA Today when there are no alternatives - it's so shallow as to be almost content free, but it is, alas, too often better than local papers in a number of cities. Lots of Hotels seem to give it away as part of their "service" (one could well ask whether that's a service or a disservice...).

I don't like The San Jose Mercury News - it has a higher ratio of advertising to actual content, and while they occasionally have interesting articles, it's rare enough that I don't subscribe and only occasionally glance at copies that lie around Coffee Shops and such. I'm also not fond of their layout - it just feels wrong.

There is a list of San Francisco Bay Area Newspapers on Yahoo.

Newspapers - Weekly

The free weekly newspapers in various cities around the USA are an interesting alternative to the typically myopic and conservative dailies. They tend toward leftist politics and muckraking, but that's what they're for, nu? I love 'em.

I also find these newspapers usually have a vastly superior entertainment guide to local attractions than the dailies. It's also no surprise that most of them are members of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies.

There is a list of "Alternative" Newsweeklies on Yahoo.

Newspapers - Weekly Trade Rags

The trade rags frustrate me terribly sometimes. They get caught up in the hype about one thing or another so easily (e.g. Java), without doing any critical analysis at all, and thereby do the industry (and their readership) a great disservice.

I believe that the principle problem here is the same one that afflicts customer service, training, and testing organizations - the people who really understand all this stuff are all off doing development, which leaves other, less qualified, people to do the writing about it.

Newspapers - less than weekly

These I pick up as the mood strikes (or as time allows; I tend to grab Rolling Stone in airports just before I fly somewhere).


It's fun just to wander into a magazine rack and browse the tables of contents of the magazines there; often I'll pick up something I've never read before because it piques my interest.

Internet Mailing Lists

I've been reading and contributing to a wide variety of Internet Mailing Lists and USENET news groups since 1981. While the Internet is by no means my primary information source, it is rapidly becoming a much more than simple majority with the expansion of publishing on the World Wide Web. Now, if we could just get people to stop using Adobe PDF, and use straight HTML...

My biggest problem with a reading list like this is keeping up, and after that, throwing away all the old issues, whether read or not (otherwise, I'd be buried in paper, newsprint and glossy both!).

Erik E. Fair <>
December 2, 1999