Sunday, June 28, 2009

Staying Informed

This past week's media frenzy has exhausted me. No less than three celebrity deaths, in addition to the end of a reality show marriage, and (another) political sex scandal have done nothing but make the circus louder. It's not like we're learning anything from the coverage. I've resolved to go on a "news diet"--another interesting idea from the Zen Habits blog.

Leo Babauta suggests that a good way to get rid of mental noise is to turn off the media and sources of chatter. He advocates giving up television, radio, newspapers, the internet and email for a week. I simply cannot stop with email, as staying employed contributes greatly to my happiness, but I have decided I'll give up as much of the other stuff as possible this week.

Television is pretty easy, as I don't watch much anyway, especially when my kids are not with me. Breaking away from news sights will be a little tougher, as I look daily at our local paper on-line, and generally have a run through at least the Wall Street Journal while I eat my lunch. I follow sports somewhat but am not a huge fan, so that won't be difficult.

Evenings will be harder, as I do love NPR and it's what I listen to while I cook dinner. I am trying to figure out if it's a show like The Splendid Table or RadioLab if it's cheating, and I think not. But all the pure news shows will have to go--which means I will have to set my Blackberry alarm and not be awakened by Morning Edition, as I have for over ten years. No radio in the car (and traffic alerts are always too little, too late anyway) and absolutely no magazine reading in the checkout line. I will do my best not to read the news updates that pop up on the little screen in the elevators in my building, although they do fill those awkward silences well.

I wonder what I will miss out on this week. There is some good reporting out there, but it's really hard to get to when all of that clutter is in the way, and, like junk food, it's the tabloid culture that's really hard to avoid. Sadly (or not) I don't think I will miss out on anything that will affect my life. I bought a new novel today, as since it's fiction and not current affairs I think I can justify it. For the moment, the house is awfully quiet. I hope by the end of the week my mind is a little more so, too.

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