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Slower News (slowernews.com)
270 points by galfarragem 8 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 86 comments

I use https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portal:Current_events for keeping track of what's going on in the world without being inundated into short-term reactions, clickbait and hype.

A minimalist version of that: https://legiblenews.com

Thank you!

This is so cool! Thanks for sharing.

I feel the name is a misnomer. These articles are opinion and analysis. News is different. Slow news would not be very interesting, either.

Well, I think that's the key observation: when you no longer chase "breaking" news, you have to provide more analysis. When "X does Y", you don't usually need to learn about it within 60 minutes. You usually need to understand "What are the implications of this? Is Y really necessary? What is the motivation driving X?". I can recommend subscribing to the paper version of The Economist, you will see that the "breaking" news section is usually just 2 pages long ("The world this week" in https://www.economist.com/weeklyedition/2020-12-05). The rest is mostly analysis (of the current events) and opinion.

Providing analysis is one direction.

But there is another: Reporting news that already happened.

See, most news report on what will happen today, what is expected to happen within 3 days, 1 month. It builds expectations and stress in the mindset of the listener; It keeps the audience hung to the news stream but I think it is the most toxic characteristic, even before the divisive aspect of current news providers.

It’s as if we got so fast that instead of reporting on news « within 1 day! » or « within 1 hour! », we provide the news within « -3 hours ».

> when you no longer chase "breaking" news, you have to provide more analysis

Which is why there's a sea of difference in the quality between an Economist opinion piece (which takes a week to craft), a Bloomberg opinion piece (which takes a couple of days unless it's an expert or Matt Levine), or a standard run of the mill media outlet opinion piece (usually the next day).

Is news different?

If you’re reading the AP wire then yes it is different, it’s just dry facts with limited context or framing.

That’s not how most people consume news though. That is far too dry for most and you’ll likely miss key observations because you can’t possibly be up to speed with every context. In mainstream news the correspondent for X will helpfully add that knowledge to the story being reported so you can understand the new facts in context.

News as I’m thinking you’re meaning it, would be that model, the facts and a curtailed context, often eliding the “for and against” arguments to go straight to a ready to consume conclusion that should neatly fit the reader’s prior preferences.

The exploration of the for and against is usually cut out of news since it sells better and costs less to produce.

> That is far too dry for most and you’ll likely miss key observations because you can’t possibly be up to speed with every context.

This is true, but I don't see this as a huge problem. Most 'big news' is very easily understood by lay people (e.g. "Congress is debating a pandemic relief bill" or "The World Trade Center has been struck by aircraft"), or it has a long delay before the news is actionable.

Something complex like the financial response to the pandemic leaves plenty of time to write a more thoughtful analysis. The only fast 'news' the mainstream should be reporting on is what various interested parties are saying and when to expect certain details. Anything more than that and they themselves become the fount of misinformation because they can't possibly have all the details. If the people voting on the 5,000+ page omnibus spending bill didn't have time to read it, with all their support staff pitching in ~ and considering the fact that they helped write it ~ what chance does a news organization have?

> In mainstream news the correspondent for X will helpfully add that knowledge to the story being reported so you can understand the new facts in context.

I don't think this is actually helpful at all. Very rarely is the information complete or accurate. It's always presented as being fact, when it is often more opinion. We killed a lot of people over yellowcake uranium that never actually existed while the news assured everyone it did. [0]Of course, the evidence the news was citing was debunked by our allies almost immediately.

Personally, I think so-called news should behave more responsibly, take their time, and produce more complete analysis so they can actually inform instead of mislead the people.


Yes news and opinions are different. Which is why there’s an entire editorial or opinion section in news.

The internet has managed to blur the lines and people are convinced anything and everything is automatically news.

The choice to report or not report new information is itself an expression of opinion. I’m not sure there ever could be lines other than of the blurry variety?

E.g. my OnlyTheFacts (tm) news org who doesn’t add any form of opinion to the news they report might still choose to just not report some types of story and choose to always cover a relatively rare type of event skewing the perception of reportable news in the world.

I’m not aware of any news vendors who list the stories they choose not to cover.

I don’t think this is anything new to the 21st or even to the 20th century.

> I’m not aware of any news vendors who list the stories they choose not to cover.

The only thing I am aware of that is even close is Project Censored, which aims to document the most important stories that have been ignored by all major news outlets each year:


All of these pieces of 'news' are just outright opinion pieces on issues that have been covered in the news...

Are they? I’ve read two of the articles so far and i haven’t run across editorial opinion yet.

Can you point out an opinion expressed by the publication?

As for covered in the news, they do reference the niche sites which cover the stories they’re reporting but i would take it to mean they’ve not been reported in the mainstream news. The two stories i read don't appear in a google news search for example?

That is an awesome find! Thank you very much

Slower news should be a bit more like writing history. You probably already remember the top-level facts for the stuff that made headlines for a few days, but what about specialized fields?

I’d be happy to read a well-written yearly summary of the most important news in neuroscience, for example.


I can't speak on their printed work but my first issue is arriving any day.

Actually, I've been interested in reviving something that might be called slow news. Its more like the weekly news digest. Lots of times first reports are inaccurate, or woefully incomplete, and the corrections never get noticed; also, sometimes we need to slow down to cogitate on the news instead of just reacting to it.

I'd like to see something that detects trends, not fads. Basically "slow news" that detects news that continues to be news long after the story has broken.

Google actually had this c. 2012 - there was a portion of the SRP that was devoted to "long form" articles, long articles that continued to get searched for months after they came out. It surfaced some really good content, but the SRP was probably was the wrong format to put this on. I think it was unlaunched after a few years, unfortunately.

I have actually found that wikipedia articles on current events can fulfill this role (or at least the one I imagined) in a decent way (ie. constructing more and more complete news pictures).

The best news for me would be a service that would be okay with reporting "there was no important news", but that is not how the industry works. I'd be willing to pay for that if when news did happen, the reporting/analysis was exceptional.

Not sure where I read this idea first, may have been Taleb, but it's something I've seen pop up as wanted in this hyperactive news environment.

Slow news would probably be more factual correct as the story can have time to be verified and researched. Rather than the... fake news that main stream media has fallen into. Write now fact check later and follow up later on a hidden post.

I’d like the opposite. A twitter feed with just facts, (or allegations with timely follow ups) relevant to a specific topic. The hard part is getting one entity to report this with no bias. Maybe this is a job for bots + AI.

If one day we can solve for how AI is just bias enshrined in software.

I think the Reuters news website [0] comes close to this ideal. Generally neutral reporting of facts with few, if any, embellishments. [0] https://mobile.reuters.com/

Facts are bad business. They don't sell well, people don't like hearing them, they're expensive to get, and provide only intangible benefit to fake facts. Many societies these days seem to be operating just fine purely on fake news, demonstrating the (at least temporary) irrelevance of the truth

so something like this but with non-biased articles?


To me this is solved for a lot of domains. The economist (and prob some other weekly’s) do a good job for general news, and I’m sure some newsletters do the job for other domains.

The key is finding slow news for the niche you care about.

Personally I think that a big gap is local news. Would love a site like wickedlocal but where I get things weekly and have no ads or superfluous stories. I’d pay for it.

I’m experimenting with some automated scraping of news sources (Twitter, Reddit, town websites, stores, restaurants, etc) for my town. Hoping to be able to get it do a point where I can produce something of value on 1hr a week.

I think mailbrew[0] could be of your interest, it lets you add some sources and it will send you a periodic digest of them.

Disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with them anyhow, nor use their service.

[0] https://mailbrew.com

Why do you disclaim that you have no conflict of interest? Is this a thing we should be doing?

That looks really cool. Will check it out

Agree. I'm a big fan of "The New Paper" [0] for "slow news".

[0] https://thenewpaper.co/

For what it’s worth, the New York Review of Books accomplishes this for me. Don’t let the title fool you, they write in depth about current affair topics.

I came here to say the same thing. Opening a new issue of The New York Review of Books or the London Review of Books are two of the great pleasures in life.

https://lrb.co.uk/ https://www.nybooks.com/

I looked into them recently but found their tone a bit too partisan than, say, the economist.

Which is fine if you’re looking for that sort of commentary, but in terms of news it’s not what I was looking for.

The Economist leans status quo.

The NYRB leans marxism-aware global left, with a heavy dose of academic anaesthesia.

Neither is more "partisan" (I think ideological is likely a better word). You just don't notice it in the Economist because they rarely argue against what already is (since it suits them, mostly, just fine).

Ideological is perhaps a better word. I guess the point here is to be aware of your news source’s ideology since it will def effect any opinion pieces and even frame the stories they choose to report on.

As an aside, do you know anything like nyrob that has something equivalent to the economists “the world this week”? Would be neat to see a similar format from two separate ideologies.

There is an RSS feed (linked at the bottom of the page): https://www.slowernews.com/rss.xml

Interesting project, but it comes off as a bit like a personal list. An I supposed to consume this in some order? Would the addition of article dates help? Maybe a TOC at the top?

I think personal lists of interesting news and articles are good things. I'd much prefer people to go back to this style vs. the algorithmic "feed" we see on the big sites these days.

Interesting project in low-stress Tufte design. Maybe include the source/origin of the individual stories?

Unlike some of those top comments, I actually like your curation a lot. Prefer it to The Economist, New York Book Review, and the other sites ppl linked in the comments. Good job!

I know you have an RSS feed, and the crowd here probably is all for RSS, but I would love it if I could leave my email somewhere and get a notification when a new submit was posted.

I use IFTTT to get RSS feed updates into my inbox! This is the applet I've been using for many years now - https://ifttt.com/applets/rhYv7ixE

A BBC article from 2018 covering Navalny. You could call that oldernews.

Not everything on Hacker News is "news", old articles and blog posts are perfectly acceptable. Thus, if "Slower News" is understood as a slow "Hacker News", the name is valid by inheritance.

It's funny; I would classify that article as "new" news because for me it's new, as in I never heard of it before.

This particular selection doesn't seem that interesting to me, but I like the idea.

Looks roughly like https://www.the-syllabus.com/, although presumably less firm (no criticism, just a different approach).

Also check out the user-curated section of https://upstract.com for good and less time-sensitive reads.

I do the same [1] but for tech news

[1] https://embit.ca

Maybe a better question to ask would be why not drastically decrease the amount of news altogether, instead of just switching to opinion pieces or some other gimmick?

meh. the order should be chronological instead of by category. Given the multitude of content online, the likelihood that someone an curate a list that does not miss stuff I may be interested in, is tiny. People have tired to create aggregators, and with the exceptions of Hacker News and Drudge, they tend to fail.

I thought of creating something like this back in 2015 and while doing research it ultimately made me realize that slow news always existed in form of biweekly magazines like economist. The main solution for me was to turn off all the breaking news notifications.

ah damn. I've been working on a project that is supposed to emulate getting The Sunday Paper.

Only updated on Sundays with the top headlines of the week. No annoying pings, no data collection, etc.

I was demotivated when I scrolled through this, but luckily I still feel as though mine is different enough.

It’s encouraging that others have been contemplating this idea - I have been too.

For me the key is that content can come every day, but it is delayed based on it’s importance. So instead of Sunday news printing something that happened Saturday, this model prints about the Saturday event two weeks later on a Tuesday when all the facts are known. But it doesn’t have to be every day.

The hard part is that I don’t just want this for myself, I want this for everyone that is currently captured by the toxic 24/7 9/11-style news cycle. The society is in a permanent panic/outrage mode. Breaking that will be tough.

Absolutely, that's a great idea. Only release something when all the facts are known! (Although coding that seems pretty difficult, and curating it seems exhausting)

The news cycle is absolutely toxic. People shouldn't have 24/7 access to the news. The pressure to create news immediately, and in turn, to read them it immediately, is harmful for everyone.

Plus, with very few exceptions, it doesn't matter if you hear about it in 2 seconds or 2 weeks.

I hope to hear about what you're building! Sounds great.

Cool, I like that it's just links. Actually reminds me of Arbtr, an ultra minimalist curation platform http://www.arbtr.com

I like this - but where can I find some info about how it works / who is choosing the articles?

This is basically the Atlantic.

Unrelated, but what's the font used on this website called?

It is called ET Book (https://github.com/edwardtufte/et-book)

Edit: it is under the MIT license so free to use commercially

To be honest, this serif font together with underscore makes it a little bit hard to read for me.

Concept is interesting.

Needs an option to remove underlines and no dark mode.

If your browser/OS is set to dark mode, it automatically switches to the dark interface (using CSS prefers-color-scheme).

I'll pass. "Eating for peace: how cuisine bridges cultures" is not"Geopolitics"


It's not a bug, it's a feature.

I understand it as the author's own news selection that reflects his interests, it's only published publicly "in the hope that it will be useful to others, but without any warranty" (borrowing the language of GPL). You are free to find and sort out your own sources of news.

Author said,

> How do you curate articles?

> I cherry-pick articles that dissect trends or unveil lesser known trends and interesting edge cases, and are relevant, at least, for some months. It's certainly affected by my biases (I'm aware of these: Western culture (European flavour), loose minimalism, loose intelectualism, centrism, agnosticism and I'm male. Trained as an housing architect) and most articles on main page were on Hacker News. The articles' listing order is, often, not random.

You can submit a pull request if you have something interesting and timeless

Could you give some examples of actually 'worthwhile' right-wing/conservative perspectives? I'm genuinely curious, because it's quite hard to tell whether these views get suppressed in my filter bubble, or if there just aren't many worth examining.

Just as one arbitrary example, perhaps look into Roger Scruton. His work on architecture is a good introduction, for example Why Beauty Matters: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=bHw4MMEnmpc.

Like most good conservative thinkers, he’s no longer with us. I recommend him because he’s not overtly political. The best conservative thinkers stay out of the boring political quarrelling, IMO.

.. do you have any examples that are still alive? "Welcome to conservativism, all our best thinkers are dead" isn't a great pitch.

He died earlier this year, so he's not entirely outdated (although judging thinkers by their expiry date does not seem sensible regardless).

Others still alive worth reading include:

- Douglas Murray

- Patrick Deneen

- Theodore Dalrymple

- John Gray (although not easily categorized as a conservative)

- Sohrab Ahmari (although if you are averse to religious discourse, perhaps not)

I'd recommend Ross Douthat, currently with the NYT, and Andrew Sullivan, on Substack.

To be fair, the defining trait of conservatives is that they think ideas don't expire all that quickly. It makes sense that they'd hold dead thinkers in higher regard than others would.

All the best left-wing thinkers are also dead.

Jordan Peterson?

I’m not sure I’d call Peterson conservative or right-wing. A great thinker though, for sure.

There are many different right-wing factions, I don't know exactly what you mean by "worthwhile", if you want to understand what is happening in the world, you might want to at least be familiar with the main ones and their world views.

For libertarianism maybe read Reason. For the neo-cons it would be the National Review, for paleo-cons, the American Conservative. For the business or free market conservatives, the Heritage Foundation or AEI. For unabashedly pro-Trump conservatives, it would be the American Spectator. For the religious right, no idea what you would read there.

It's very different from the left wing stuff I read in that the right-wing groups mainly have a single thread in common, a skepticism of centralized government control, whereas the liberal sources that I read all seem to share more of a common ideology.

George F. Will

Thomas Sowell

Kori Schake

Jeff Flake

And almost anyone who has resigned in protest from the current US administration: Mattis, McMaster, ...

The brillant writings of F.A. Hayak could very well interest those with an open mind to such things.

Although almost nobody who reveres him seems to notice that his policies assume a basic level of universal healthcare and significant government assistance during economic downturns, since he writes about these almost as a side-note.

Which is why exactly I call his writing brillant...he seems to be able to express a consevatism that also has a soul.

Nick Szabo


>The right always does; that's why it's a regressive, self-destructive faction

Thanks for the informed opinion

The only difference between this and the NYT (or every other mainstream media outlet for that matter) is scale.

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