Backing Away From the News

After getting pulled into the news during this year’s election cycle, I decided to take a step back and reevaluate my consumption. Reading Nicholas Bate’s “22 Reasons your 2017 is going to be Awesome“, number 4 stood out:

Every single problem commentators list for 2017 from Brexit to Trump to Asteroid Collision, you will ask: Can I fix this? If yes, do so. If no, execute your plan B. But stay resourceful, walk tall and love planet Earth

I’ve started posing this question to myself, and it has changed how I consume media. I no longer mindlessly save news stories to Instapaper to read or browse multiple papers. I am even thinking of cutting out the national evening news for some extra reading time.

What am I reading now?

For the past few weeks I’ve been relying on the NYTimes1 and The Economist Espresso2 apps. I also still subscribe to the Next Draft newsletter, which is where I find a lot of my long-form current event reading.

Reducing my consumption of the daily news cycle has freed me up to read more nonfiction books. While not as current as the news, you gain much more depth from reading a book. Some of my recent favorites include Elon Musk, How Music Got Free, Eating Animals, Eccentric Orbits, and 10% Happier.3

Less stress, More knowledge

So far, I’ve been learning a lot and feeling less stress about the news (but not under informed). If you feel like you’ve been pulled into the news cycle, I suggest you give some thought to your consumption as well.

Update: Seth Godin wrote an excellent article about how we need to move our media consumption from “The candy diet” (or clickbait, bad TV shows, etc.) to thoughtful consumption. Just changing our consumption habits will force the media to make changes.

  1. I mainly read the Morning Briefing and scan the article summaries in the Top Stories section of the app. ↩︎
  2. The Economist is a great source for international news and U.S. news from a foreign prospective. Espresso provides it in a quick to read, daily format (not to mention it's much cheaper than subscribing to the magazine). ↩︎
  3. Don't forget to check your public library to see if they loan Kindle books for free. ↩︎