I'm not saying that they are the only worthwhile sites available. I'm not even saying that they should be regarded as the "best" (whatever that means). But these are the websites that immediately came to mind as I pondered the list.
Sure, there are more esoteric ones. And some exist that can seem more inside-y, snarkier, hard-hitting and maybe even more in-depth on a good day.
You may groan because many of these titles come under the category of familiar, or obvious, selections. "Of course!" you'll rant at times. "Stating the obvious," you might be moved to mutter along the way here.
What these selections have in common is that they regularly provide a lot of good stuff to read, assess and mull over -- it is that simple.
But that doesn't mean I should overlook any of the terrific journalism in this very unscientific, highly subjective list.
My only caveat is that I didn't choose any sites that I have written for. So nobody can accuse me of self-interest or playing favorites. Here we go:
1) New York Times -- The Times covers the world online as well as in the paper like nothing else. In fact, given the wide range of graphics on the website, it might be more informative to read the Times on a computer screen, anyway.
2) ESPN -- This is a sports fan's slice of heaven. ESPN is easier to read than some of its competitors and I like its simple-to-navigate layout. For years, I carped that ESPN wasn't diligent enough about posting game scores in real time, but the site has improved a lot. in this crucial area.
3) The Atlantic -- Investigative journalism, good writing and an eye of variety aren't dead by any means in journalism, as we can see in this case. And its business site, Quartz, is a very worthy complement.
4) The New Yorker -- Critics like to throw dirt on long-form journalism but they miss the point. The New Yorker has, is and will continue to be just about the best in breed. Under David Remnick's leadership, the magazine has lost much of its inaccurate "elitist" tag, too. Its online features act as an ornament to the fine prose in every issue.
5) New York -- This one is every news junkie's guilty pleasure. It elevates gossip, snark, celebrity-spotting and other pursuits to a high art -- while combining these with solid journalism. Once, a manager of a major rock star had a decision about what publication to grant his client's only exclusive interview of the year. I suggested New York because no other magazine today has the eyes and ears of Manhattan, Washington and Hollywood That's influence.
6) Slate -- I don't understand why this site is not more well known -- and more appreciated -- by journalists. Its choices of feature subjects is consistently informative and entertaining and it provides ideas that you can't find in a newspaper. Actually, you can -- because the newspapers seem to model much of their stuff after what Slate has published.
7) Deadspin -- Is Deadspin merely a provocateur or a serious guide to the sports scene? It is both, and it doesn't matter either way. You can't pigeonhole this site. It takes the sports world to a whole other level, often covering it as a sociologist would approach the subject. And it sure is fun to read.
8) Huffington Post -- This is the website to peruse if you have a layover at an airport or are stuck in a doctor's office or have a lot of time to kill at home -- because nobody else offers such a wide variety of interesting and lively stuff. I challenge anybody to read this offering on a regular basis and fail to find some piece that you loved to read.
9) IMDB -- Another guilty pleasure, especially for movie fanatics. It is so easy to read this site. It is loaded with tidbits that you can locate without any hassle. It fulfills a web surfer's hope of presenting information in a very sensible manner.
10) Politico -- When you want to know what's happening in Washington, you should consult Politico. Sure, there are other sites that also slavishly publish stories about politics -- and arguably do a more in-depth job of it, too. But Politico makes it easy to digest news about what seem like a turgid House or Senate hearing. It aspires to bright writing and, more often than not, achieves its objective.
MEDIA MATRIX QUESTION: What sites did I leave out or forget to mention? What are some of your favorites?
Please feel free to post your comments here.
Get the latest headlines from Jon Friedmans Media Matrix delivered to your inbox every day.