#PubMedia Profile: Brent Jones

May 11, 2015

Credit Nicole Hudson

People involved in public media share how they navigate the news. This month we heard from Brent Jones, a Data Visual Specialist at St. Louis Public Radio.

Three daily must-reads:
RSS feeds: Newsy news, techy news, and fun stuff
Twitter: People, breaking news, announcements about products and services I use and lighter stuff
Omnifocus lists: Stuff I gotta do

Three podcasts you listen to regularly/just discovered:
I’m a huge fan of podcasts. The three I’m most often waiting on to update are:
Back to Work with Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin: They describe this as “productivity, communication, work, barriers, constraints, tools, and more.”

Mac Power Users with David Sparks and Katie Floyd: An hour or so of nerding out about Mac stuff once a week is fine by me. They also tend to have great guests and have recently started doing a monthly “grab bag” type of show featuring more listener interaction.

And Public Radio’s own Dinner Party Download with Rico Gagliano and Brendan Francis Newnam. Speaking of great guests, this one’s full of ’em. I always learn something. And you get a joke and a cocktail recipe in every episode. What’s not to love?

Other subscriptions I listen to at least semi-regularly: 99% Invisible, Current’s The Pub, Accidental Tech Podcast, NPR’s Hourly News Summary, The Moth Podcast, The Productivityist Podcast, Slate’s Working, NPR Sunday Puzzle, You Are Not So Smart, Invisibilia, Serial, and St. Louis Public Radio’s own We Live Here.

Three people you follow (online) regularly:
Charles Apple — News design, graphics, and (on Twitter) history
Nicole Hudson — a former coworker, thoughtful commentary on the news
Brett Terpstra — Fantastic coder for Mac apps and utilities. Shows up frequently on a few of the aforementioned podcasts.

Three accounts you’d pay to follow on Twitter:
Breaking News — They’ve been getting a little more scattershot about what shows up on Twitter, but they’re still pretty fast.|
Lin-Manuel Miranda — One of the best musical composers/lyricists working. His newest show, Hamilton, is a hip-hop musical based on the life of Alexander Hamilton. It will move to Broadway this summer. He performed an early version of one of the songs at the White House in 2009.
jomny sun

First thing you check in the morning:
Twitter

Last thing you check at night:
Also Twitter. My rationale for both is that if there’s a major news event going on, I want to know about it ASAP, and Twitter’s the most likely place for me to find that quickly. Not that I’ll do anything about it first thing in the morning or last thing at night, but I’ll at least have the information to make a decision.

Favorite news consumption time saver:RSS. It’s news (and pretty much anything else) you want, delivered to you, ready to read at your leisure. You can use filtering tools and such to get parts of a feed (e.g. everything by a particular author or no story with a particular word in the headline). Using third-party tools like IFTTT you can take things that aren’t RSS and turn them into RSS. Search and archive capabilities. Often you can see things that are posted, then deleted or changed

My RSS reader gives me the feeling of being in a mission control center, keeping an eye on local, national, international news, tech stuff I care about, alerts for things I’m particularly interested in and XKCD cartoons.

Your most used mobile reporting tool or app:I don’t do a lot of mobile reporting, so I’ll go with just a most used app:And that’s Omnifocus. It’s a productivity/to-do/list-manager app on Mac and iOS and it (along with my calendar) is basically a complete inventory of all the stuff I’ve committed to do or might want to do. I follow the Getting Things Done methodology, and keeping all that stuff out of my head and in a place where I know where it is, is essential.

Words of wisdom for your fellow shows/stations as they go forward with their digital efforts:Watch other people. Reach out to people for help. Keep trying things.
Look for opportunities to improve your personal workflow. Thinking about how to make individual stories or projects great is fine. It’s good. You should do it. But if you can make improvements to your overall workflow by learning a new tool or technique, it has the potential to make all your stories and projects better.