After that initial misstep I will now attempt to answer the real question of how do I get my news.  As I had previously mentioned, my football career came to a crashing halt due in part to my inability to write a basic sentence or correctly answer a basic math problem.   Fortunately for me, I had a good teacher who got me thinking by making statements such as,  “I know books, that if you read, you will never view the world the same.”  At first, I thought this disheveled teacher who made it to class about as often as I did was crazy, but I decided to give the reading a try.   I started reading a lot of books, newspapers and magazines.  I began to pick up the LA Times and OC Register.  I subscribed to NACLA (North American Congress on Latin America), which covered South

Five books that changed my perception of the world.

American issues that the main street press neglected.  I subscribed to International Socialist Review, which gave readers out-side the box insight into national and international issues. And I subscribed to Z magazine, a periodical that, like the other two, strived to challenge power.  By 2004, when I transferred to San Francisco State to finish my last two years of college, I felt I was finally gaining a greater understand of the world around me.

Once in San Francisco I subscribed to newspapers I previously had not read.  The first paper I decided to spend money on was the Financial Times. I still don’t know why I chose that paper but overall I enjoyed the writing.  After that, I turned to the New York Times.  It was a bit more money but I figured what the hell, I had a loan and grant why not spend some on a newspaper.  One reason I turned to the NY Times was that they had a great editorial page that provided many different perspectives.    They had the conservative editorialist David Brook,s who I disagreed with on most fronts.  They had Thomas Friedman, whose neo-liberal solutions to all the worlds problems I often found lacking.  And they had the progressive Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman, whose arguments in support of the working class were appealing.  In addition, even though I didn’t agree with many of Brooks and Friedman’s arguments I wanted to know what they were thinking.  By understanding their thought process I was able to prepare myself for when I had to debate those who thought in a similar fashion. Which is also why I sometimes watch Fox News; I want to be prepared for verbal warfare.

But the major source of news for me while in San Francisco was Pacifica’s KPFA 94.1 FM.   All day night and all day long Pacifica was blasting on the radio. When I rolled over in the morning I turned on Pacifica, when the fog rolled in at dusk Pacifica was there, and when I wrote at night Pacifica stayed up with me (A quick side note.  If you stay up all night writing use your computer to listen to KPFA, they play no commercial non-corporate music all night).

By the time I was getting ready to graduate from San Francisco State my bank account was not doing well.  Part of being short on funds meant that I had to cut my newspaper and magazines.  When I moved home to San Clemente the only periodical I had left was NACLA, but eventually that became a causality of my economic downturn.  Thus, my print era came to a close.

One of the benefits of being a nomadic substitute teacher—I have been looking for a full-time teaching job for over five years now—is you usually can get a free copy of the LA Times or OC Register.   One day, while working, I turned to the LA Times web page and found that everything I was reading was on the screen for free.  From that point on I have been accessing all the print press I had in college, plus much more on the computer.  On most days, I read articles from periodicals around the world. Some notable sources I utilize are The Guardian, LA Times, NY Times, local papers, Democracy Now, KPFK, articles I find interesting on Google news and of course, I got to give a shout out to my boy Robert Fisk.  To me, Mr. Fisk is a true journalist in all sense of the word—if you don’t believe me check out his epic book, The Great War for Civilisation. And I try to read his articles on the Middle East as much as possible.  However, even though I do have free access I still cherish being able to hold onto what I’m reading.  I addition, by not buying newspapers or magazines I feel as if I’m contributing to the decline of the print press.  But, enough is enough; I have gone on for far too long.

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About ocbarrios

Professor for Cal State Fullerton's Barrio Studies class for Fall 2011 semester

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