As we purge the old to start anew in 2013, it is an ideal time to also revive one's media diet. Media habits settle easily and lazily, as any habit does.
Here is some wide ranging media that may be notable enough to displace any tired media in your life.
Two continents, two eras, two dramas, one environment - the newsroom:
- The Hour - post WWII investigative news drama set in the BBC produced by the BBC. Unfairly compared to the heavy shadow of Mad Men, as all dramas of this era now must be, The Hour stands its own with dignity, pace and surprise in a time when integrity was rife in the news room.
- The Newsroom - Aaron Sorkin's take on the tensions and conflicts of the modern newsroom where integrity swims against the current. Jeff Daniels, while a great actor who will always be most noted by this writer for his stellar performance in Dumb & Dumber, is stellar as the jaded ego maniac with a deeply buried yet strongly burning moral compass.
Both timely given the ongoing debate of eroding journalism, a decline English language France 24 and its plucky young crew refutes. Well informed and concise coverage of the news stories that matter - that many networks don't think deliver ratings. Particularly good for Africa and Middle East affairs free of hype, agenda and hyperbole. An informative tabletop tablet app over your morning coffee.
Here's the Thing hosted and produced by Alec Baldwin is 40 minutes of your life you cannot believe didn't cost anything. He is an interesting man interested in a wide range of subjects and people, getting under the skin of what makes them tick, revealing what makes himself tick.
The Menu - the casual and welcome pretension of uber media brand Monocle is at its finest in The Menu. A weekly podcast bringing the world of food to your ears. For some reason I listen to it at the gym...
James Chutter Mixtapes - an oldie but goodie by an old friend - while I'm not sure of the legalities and I am sure of the listenability of these newschool mix tapes by actor/ad man/entrepreneur extraordinaire James.
Rouleur - much more than an elegantly designed bike magazine. Rouleur is a tribute and asset to the culture of cycling effortlessly mixing the personalities of yesterday with the practitioners of today. Optimistic, transparent and celebratory of the sport without being naive or caustic.
Giles Coren - hidden behind Rupert Murdoch's Times paywall is a critic of culture, Britishness and society in the disguise of a restaurant critic. Informed provocative priggishness dished lavishly in hearty laugh out loud helpings.
Foreign Affairs - as the doctrine of globalism - one planet, one nation, one culture - exhausts its remaining breath big questions with big facts and big implications rumble underfoot. Though a bit America centric and at times military focused the informed and well written readible essays take you out of the trees to see the forest of global concerns.
Collect - an Australian upstart focused on the culture of entrepreneurs. As we live in the new era of entrepreneurship Collect packs together the best of this world while unintentionally encapsulating the modern global esthetic of the "indie" brand.
Fricote - a bilingual journal about food that is in fact an eye wateringly fresh take on visual magazine design. Playful while never letting polish get in the way.