News: A Necessary Evil?

I never used to read the newspaper beyond the Life and Sports sections, but in the last few months have felt that it would be a good idea to at least scan the whole thing. I like to be informed, but there are also a lot of things I don’t want to know about. I’m still kind of debating how much news I really want to read, and where I should read it.

Need to know

Before, I always figured that if something major happened—like a natural disaster or war—I’d hear about it without needing to read the newspaper. Why slog through the whole thing that’s mostly filled with either the same old stuff or scary and depressing stories when I could rely on other people to fill me in on the really important items?


Reading the paper can be time consuming (even though our local paper has been downsized due to budget cuts). I try to just scan the headlines and first couple of paragraphs but I like to finish what I’m reading. I worry that there might be something significant in the last paragraph and if I don’t read to the end I might as well not read at all.


Then there’s the question of where to get the news. I’ve ruled out the T.V., as the images are just too much for me. I’ve been reading the local paper, but I have links to the BBC and CNN on my igoogle homepage. I don’t really use them because as much as I want a more global perspective, there is just so much information to sort through that I get overwhelmed.

I also have trouble reading about all of the violence and suffering without emotionally connecting, and while I don’t want to become desensitized, I also don’t want to fill myself with negativity.

So that’s my question: how do you stay informed without getting sucked in to the drama and spending all day reading articles? How do you handle this? Suggestions are welcome!

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