When I was a kid, my best friend had a paper route. She'd get up early, use rubber bands to secure the papers into tight cylinders, fill up her canvas sack, and walk the neighborhood. I admired that she had a job, but I wasn't exactly envious of the work. Or the hours. Now, the relatively few home-delivered newspapers are done so by adults in cars under cover of pre-dawn darkness.
It's no secret that the way we consume news has changed dramatically. What used to require perhaps a half hour of reading in the morning and an hour or so of TV in the evening has truly become 24/7. And it's not nearly as passive. The news actively seeks us out with chimed alerts on our phones and scrolling feeds at the bottom of even our non-newsy shows.
We're a culture that doesn't seem to know when we've had enough, and news is no different. I've had a longtime habit of reaching for my phone first thing in the morning, even before my eyes focus, to see what happened in the world while I slept. I knew it wasn't a great way to start the day, but it was just too easy. Plus, I love the validation of reading articles that agree with my views. These are divisive times, and I'm not above the occasional feelings of superiority at being on what I consider the right side of history.
When I decided that for my next Take It or Leave It, I was going to quit checking the news on my phone, I felt a little panicky. In fact, the night before, I binged on my favorite apps and websites, until, like any binge, it started to make me queasy. The next morning, I got up and got going without looking at my phone, and
To be clear, it wasn't a news blackout. I scrolled past the news on Facebook, but I still listened in the car and occasionally sat down to watch Lester Holt. I stayed informed; I just wasn't mainlining news straight into my eyeballs anymore. As the week went on, I was very surprised to find that I didn't miss phone news one...little...bit. It was also nice to steer clear of those pesky rabbit holes, where I click one link and come back to my senses forty minutes later while reading 10 Overrated Tourist Destinations.
All in all, I feel pretty good about reclaiming a bit of my self-control at the Never-ending News Buffet.
Today's headline from Take It or Leave It: