“Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.” ― Albert Einstein
Keeping up with the news at any time can be a daunting prospect, but in today’s age of instant access, scandals, and ever-changing politics, the pure volume of information out there can be enough to send anyone running for the hills. And the news that does get to us tends to be that heart-shattering tragedy that the whole world is talking about, coming at us from a million different voices with a million different opinions. Sometimes I want to power down all my electronics and disappear into a cabin in the mountains. No cell service, no internet, no problems—if only it were that simple.
But unfortunately, it’s not that simple, and all turning a blind eye to the problems of the world will do is make us complicit in the issues that surround us. We can’t do everything about every problem, but we can at least be aware enough to consider, and discuss, and vote. Now you might be thinking, that’s easier said than done, or compare the flooding of news with the sound of a thousand televisions, all tuned to different programs. Eventually the noises become so mixed and muddled that it’s better not to listen to anything at all, right?
Sure, but it’s even better to turn off most of the TVs so you can hear one of them clearly.
Now, my poorly constructed metaphor does NOT mean I think you should get all your news from one source. Just that we need to consider one channel at a time in order to truly understand any of them. So, with that being said, here are some tips for filtering out the noise and get to the news you need to know.
Identify trusted news sources.
Again, don’t rely on just one source. Instead, identify a handful, ideally as non-partisan as possible (or at least from a variety of political leanings). Focus on sources that are fact-checked and be aware of who their major sponsors are. Big money isn’t just a problem for politicians, news can fall victim to it as well.
Utilize your technology.
When you think of getting news from your phone, do you think of Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat? Phones can be a great tool for staying up to date on what’s happening, but relying on social media can lead you to information that is unreliable and far more opinion than fact. Instead, download news apps from your trusted news sources and allow notifications. This way you can get small chunks of the most important news stories throughout the day and don’t have to overload yourself each evening when you are trying to relax.
Talk to people.
The game of telephone has taught us the dangers of passing on partial information, so before you go out talking, make sure you have done your research. However, that being said, intelligent discussion about the issues can be a great way to learn more about what is going on. As is the case with anything you hear, read, or stumble across, make sure not to take anything you hear as fact without checking its source, keep conversations about the issues and not your opinions, and make a conscious effort to converse with people who believe and live in different ways than you do. You may be surprised what you find out.