On News Sources

A reader of mine asks:

I’m interested in the range of stuff you are reading and thinking about.     Would also be interested in a catalog of what, how, and why for “information sources you get pushed to” you and “information sources you pull/poll” on a daily or weekly basis.

This is a struggle, and it changes over time.  I have a category in my Bookmarks called “startup” which contains:

  • My portfolio tickers at Yahoo Finance, and the news thereof
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • Bloomberg.com
  • And my RSS reader

The last one varies the most but contains:

AAII Stock Investor Pro Data Updateshttp://feeds.feedburner.com/AAIIStockInvestorProDataUpdates
Abnormal Returnshttp://abnormalreturns.com/feed/
Bronte Capitalhttp://brontecapital.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
Bruce Krastinghttp://brucekrasting.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
Capital Contexthttp://feeds.feedburner.com/CapitalContext
Cato Upcoming Eventshttp://feeds2.feedburner.com/CatoEvents
CFO.com: Today in Financehttp://www.cfo.com/rss/cfo_today_in_finance.xml
China Financial Marketshttp://mpettis.com/feed/
David Merkel (AlephBlog) on Twitterhttp://twitter.com/statuses/user_timeline/120209971.rss
Distressed Debt Investinghttp://feeds.feedburner.com/DistressedDebtInvesting
DTC Important Notices – Reorganizationhttp://www.dtcc.com/legal/imp_notices/rss/dtc_reo.xml
Economics of Contempthttp://economicsofcontempt.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
FeedBulletin for: Alephbloghttp://feeds.feedburner.com/~u/Alephblog
Financial Adviserhttp://blogs.wsj.com/financial-adviser/feed/
Graham And Doddsvillehttp://feeds.feedburner.com/grahamanddoddsville
Humble Student of the Marketshttp://feeds.feedburner.com/HumbleStudentOfTheMarkets
Inner Workingshttp://blog.atimes.net/?feed=rss2
Macro Rantshttp://macrorants.wordpress.com/feed/
Macroeconomic Resiliencehttp://feeds.feedburner.com/MacroeconomicResilience
Market Anthropologyhttp://www.marketanthropology.com/feeds/posts/default
NY Fed | Permanent Open Market Operationshttp://www.newyorkfed.org/rss/feeds/pomo.xml
Patrick Chovanechttp://chovanec.wordpress.com/feed/
Rajiv Sethihttp://rajivsethi.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss
Sober Lookhttp://feeds.feedburner.com/SoberLook
The Accounting Onionhttp://feeds.feedburner.com/typepad/theaccountingonion
The Aleph Bloghttp://feeds.feedburner.com/TheAlephBlog
The Cody Wordhttp://blogs.marketwatch.com/cody/feed/
The Financial Investigatorhttp://www.thefinancialinvestigator.com/?feed=rss2
the research puzzlehttp://researchpuzzle.com/blog/feed/rss/

There are many other bloggers I like a lot, but I typically run into them through linkfests from the above.  I favor bloggers that tend to post less frequently; I used to have those that post more frequently, but I could not keep up with the flow.

Occasionally Twitter and email will give me ideas, but I try to limit my time on Twitter.  I use Tweetdeck as my main Twitter client, and Buffer as my secondary client, but once I have Tweeted, I turn it off, because it is too much of a distraction.

With email, I am fascinated at the number of parties that think that I might promote their cause.  Because I respect my readers, I am really choosy about:

  • What articles I will point to
  • What infographics I will post (none so far)
  • What types of advertising I will do (and I have turned down a lot of deals)
  • Most things 😉

I will send back comments to the PR folks, and I will often unsubscribe, or ask to be removed.  I am not a media outlet in the traditional sense.  (And why many Atheist organizations think I will publish their cause floors me, but I don’t unsubscribe, I just quote the Bible to them.  Fun! 😉 )

But the truth is, I probably spend too much time in data-gathering / analysis.  I go through cycles where I pare down my sources… I’ve done it probably a dozen times over the last 5-8 years, and then like topsy/kudzu it grows back.  That’s the battle.

But, now you know the basics of my reading lists.  If it helps you, good.  If not, as with all of my posts, I thank you for reading me.  Your time is valuable, and I am very sorry to have wasted your time.  I hope to do better next time, but I understand when people unsubscribe because:

  • Needs change over time, and no one is perpetually relevant
  • I sometimes say controversial things, and offense leads people to leave
  • I occasionally write boring things, and I don’t blame you for leaving — I’m not always Chrysostom (golden-mouthed)
  • There are really good writers out there on investing & finance, and I try to be one, but the competition is very good.  On the bright side, Aleph Blog is still an independent blog of the old school, where one person does it all, and has his own site.

When I was at the recent Investment Research Challenge, a number of the students came up to me and said, “Oh you’re *that* David Merkel.  I read you all the time.”  That was humbling.  I write primarily to give something back.  Yes, I get a little out of advertising and book reviews.  Yes, it gains clients for me indirectly.  But that’s not why I write.

I write because there is so much garbage that average investors are fed, and believe, and my self-appointed job is to fight it.  I tell my kids that there is a loose organization of bloggers that I notionally call “The Good Guys.”  I am one of them, and we are out to expose:

  • Deceptive products
  • Fraudulent stocks
  • General bad ideas in investing
  • Occasionally, bad advisors
  • Crummy but well-known economists
  • Self-serving politicians, and those that aid them
  • And more

Don’t get me wrong, I know I have my own problems, and I accept correction from others.

But that describes how I interact with the Internet, and the vortex of data that it delivers.