A Peek Inside Sam Sanders' Digital Life

Oct 22, 2014

Credit Corey Seeholzer
People involved in public media share how they wade through the digital news deluge. Find past Digital Life features here.

This month we heard from Sam Sanders, a producer and reporter based out of NPR West. He’s covered everything from the Sochi Olympics to the strange rise of moscato in hip hop culture. NPR wasn’t his first taste of public media – Sanders has worked at several Member Stations, including time at OPB as a Kroc Fellow. We’re big fans of the three Bs in his Twitter profile: bacon, Beyonce, and beer. Follow his tweets @SamSanders.

Three daily must-reads:
Lots of newsletters. I subscribe to several that hit my inbox throughout the day, mostly in the AM though, so I can read up quickly before I get to the office. Right now I get daily emails from: The Week, Media Bistro’s Morning Media Newsfeed, Medium, The Washington Post, Quartz, Politico Playbook, LA-ist, and I have a daily Google News alert set up for news about California.

Gawker. I like to see how they write about current events. I don’t always agree with their ethics, but they always talk about what’s going on with a devilish and snarky twist. And they write awesome headlines!

Monkey See. Linda Holmes is truth y’all.

Three podcasts you listen to regularly/just discovered:
Serial, the This American Life spin-off all about a real-life murder in Baltimore, and one reporter’s quest to find out who really did it. It is podcast CRACK. I’m totally hooked.

The Read a totally profane and crazy podcast all about pop culture. NSFW folks.

On The Media because I’m, like, in the media

Three people you follow (online) regularly:
Not really people, but I usually spend a few minutes seeing what’s trending on Twitter, mostly for the laughs. And I also LIVE for Throwback Thursdays on Instagram. And #BlackTwitter regularly leaves me in stitches, whatever they’re talking about.

Three accounts you'd pay to follow on Twitter:

Gene Demby, Emily Nussbaum, and Rembert Browne

Three guilty pleasures online:
All the dumb Vine-like videos my friends post on Facebook. Honestly, with all the videos, Facebook has turned into YouTube, and I kinda like it. Any 10 things I wish I knew when I was 18, or 30 things people in their 30s should do, or 7 things successful people do before 7 a.m. lists. I love those things. Love them. Any articles or listicles with lots of pictures of celebrities. Preferably before and after shots, or them on the beach or going to the grocery store or wearing sweatpants and doing other things that make them “normal.”

First thing you check in the morning:
My work inbox, mostly for NPR’s morning news briefing sent to all news staff. And then all those newsletters I mentioned above. And THEN, homepages of the major papers – LA Times, NY Times, Washington Post. THEN Facebook. My rule for FB is that if three or more friends have posted about the same current event, I should DEF be paying attention. And then a bit of Twitter if I have time. I try to go through all of these things before the National Desk’s daily 8am meeting. Of course, I play NPR while I’m getting ready for work, on my iPhone.

Last thing you check at night:
Google News, work email [for our nightly news briefs emails, summing up the events of the day], and TMZ.

Favorite news consumption time saver:
Google News Alerts. Right to your inbox at a time you set, every day, with the biggest headlines on whatever topic you choose. It’s really great.

Your most used mobile reporting tool or app:
FB and Twitter. And an internal app called Report-IT that allows me to interview guests at high quality, using their iPhones as professional grade mics. Saves me from having guests outside of LA schlep to a studio all the time.

Words of wisdom for your fellow shows/stations as they go forward with their digital efforts:
Listen to what people are saying on Facebook and Twitter. Don’t trivialize it. If they REALLY care about a topic, maybe you should, too.