Sunday, February 3, 2019

Media Minimalism

I love the Calm app. Recently, the meditation focus was on minimalism. (https://www.calm.com/) That got me to thinking. And yes, I could do with more minimalism in several areas of my life, but the one that jumped out to me first was with regard to news. I remember, and this suggests how old I really am, when the news was generally provided by radio, television and one or two daily newspapers. Radio broadcasts sometimes broke in to regularly scheduled programming if there was news of an extremely serious nature, as when Kennedy was shot. Usually the news was broadcast at six PM on television and Uncle Walter (Walter Cronkite for those too young to remember) was a regular part of many families.

Radio stations sometimes had a noon broadcast and an early morning broadcast that focused on "leftover" news from the night before and the weather forecast. People received local news as well as national, state, and regional and some world news from their newspapers. Of course, technology developed and now we have news alerts beeping at us 24/7. We have headline news around the clock on televsion, computers, our phones, and radios. 

In our household, I cannot watch the current political news on a 24/7 basis. So, I leave the room when my husband insists on watching it. The whole thing spikes my blood pressure. And, so that I am balanced in my information sources, I have alerts from several different news outlets on my phone, that dutifully blast headlines throughout the day. Do I check them religiously? No. 

Everyone is different of course. I do tend to be a worrier, to which basically anyone who knows me well would attest. My life has given me plenty of cause to worry over the past six months. But I know that this constant barrage of "news".... or headlines and soundbytes designed to shock, dismay, enrage or inspire ..... does not help my peace of mind. Maybe I need a moratorium on news. Maybe I should apply the principles of minimalism to "news". As an aside, whether you agree with me re news or not, the Calm app is one of the best investments you can make in yourself. But do think about becoming a minimalist in at least one area of your life. 

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