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The lunatic is in the hall
The lunatics are in my hall
The paper holds their folded faces to the floor
And every day the paper boy brings more

Pink Floyd

I canceled my New York Times and San Antonio Express-News subscriptions a few weeks ago. For a newsie like me, that’s remarkable. I’ve been reading the newspaper and watching the news—independent of adults—since elementary school.

Fast forward a few weeks, and I’m past the withdrawals. I deleted all the free news apps I downloaded except for the AP News and NPR apps. I read the San Antonio Report, a nonprofit digital newspaper, and I support it too. I throw YouTube on at night and don’t binge on all the local news videos. I watch a few videos of interest, and I move on.

Remarkably, I feel like I have my sense of the world back.

Like dieting, my tolerance for the news shrank as one’s stomach can shrink during fasting. The place inside me where the information used to fill and expand but deplete rapidly is recovering. And so I learned something.

The news is often significant; it is seldom consequential.

The news is about important things that can signify or indicate other important things—sometimes abstract societal patterns.

However, most things that happen in the news are of little consequence. No matter their importance or significance to some people, the significance of most newsworthy events is not generalizable to others. And if it does not generalize to others, it is probably not consequential; and if it is consequential, it may not be significantly so.

In my news detox, I’m starting to see the news differently because I want to be more intentional in my news consumption. My goal is to neither be ignorant nor consumed. I need to keep tabs on this fantastic and ridiculous world. However, I don’t want to be distracted by its noise.

So far, I feel liberated and rejuvenated. I also feel as informed as I did a few weeks ago. I’ll report back on my progress in another few weeks.

Photo Credit:
Creator(s): Hine, Lewis Wickes, 1874-1940, photographer
Date Created/Published: 1910 May.

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