How Much News is Enough?

Do you think the news is depressing and boring, or do you know every detail of every editorial? Do you feel like you’re too busy to even think about it?  Why is knowing current events important, and how do you strike a balance so that you’re informed,  but not obsessing about every rumor?

Why Does It Matter?

We need to know enough about current events to make good decisions. Our choices of what to buy, who to do business with, what type of job to get, where to live or even where to go on vacation need to be based on facts. For instance, if you’re in your twenties right now, especially if you are pregnant or could be you need to know what Zika virus is and how not to get it. If you make choices based on bad information or ignorance you could spend years and thousands of dollars on an education in a field that soon is going to be obsolete, or even put yourself or your loved ones in danger.

It’s also easy to end up supporting businesses that are selling food with poison in it, dumping toxic waste, or treating their employees like dirt. Who wants to support the real world equivalent of the evil empire? (Sit down, Vader fans!) Even if we don’t think it’s our problem, eventually it will be. For that matter, how do you know if a rumor about a company, person, or organization is true or not?

The fact is that if all we know about is pop culture and entertainment news,  a potential employer or your girl/boyfriend’s dad are not going to be impressed, and it could get downright embarrassing.Great minds discuss ideas, Average minds discuss events, and small minds discuss people. Eleanor Roosevelt

What To Do

So how do you stay aware of what’s important without spending more time than necessary?

A custom list on Twitter with several news outlets on it is quick and easy, for example; @BreakingNews, @BBCBreaking @cnnbrk @ReutersLive @CBSTopNews @ABCNewsLive and finally, @TWCBreaking (for weather)

Wikipedia has a current events portal that will give you round the world happenings in brief.

You can pick a news outlet you like and just skim their headlines, NPR, BBC, ABC, or use a news aggregator like google news, which is pretty much what I do on my laptop. I have certain keywords entered, like the name of my home town, earthquakes, my favorite sports teams, and whatever else I want to follow.

One thing I love about the internet is that it’s easy to stay aware of what’s happening across the world, things you never hear on American news.

That’s all there is to it. Give the news a skim, stay up-to-date, make better decisions, and feel good about yourself because you understand what people are talking about.

BUT

All that said, don’t be afraid to shut it off, or walk away. We live in an age when every tragedy gets 24/7 coverage, and oftentimes newscasters will give unsubstantiated reports or show gruesome raw footage just to fill air time. At best it’s a waste of time, at worst you’ll be listening to lies and half-truths, and getting images in your brain that aren’t good for your emotional health. Use balance to make your own judgement, and take care of your personal needs.

So how do you choose to stay aware of what you need to know? How do you figure out what is factual and what is hype? What do you think?