Estimated read time: 4 minutes
The 24-hour, nonstop news coverage of anything happening continues around the globe. We have news outlets sharing news, brands sharing content and there certainly are more than enough opinions about anything and everything flying around on social media.
It’s easy to follow the news but that also means it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. Even to the extend that people don’t get work done – whether they are working in the office or remote.
I chatted with Jaci Clement, CEO of the Fair Media Council about how people – including content creators and marketers – can manage the onslaught of news coverage in their daily lives. This article is based on the podcast interview.
Turn off notifications
For starters, she said, turn off notifications of updates from social media.
It’s not that there is more breaking news today necessarily but there are more immediate channels to get the news to you. And those channels don’t slow down. Managing how often you let them interrupt you can make a big difference.
Understand the urgency levels of notifications
If you insist on getting notifications, understand that notifications don’t mean every article is an emergency. “Just because you get a notification that doesn’t mean the world is coming to an end,” Jaci said.
Also keep in mind that many news organizations tweet about the same story multiple times. The New York Times for example picks different sound bites and shares them as another tweet – often in a Twitter thread.
Pick go-to channels and mediums
In a more routine news cycle Jaci would recommend to pay attention to multiple outlets. In this scenario, it might be best to pick one or two channels and check in with those websites or apps for updates. Consider signing up for their email newsletter and select for it to be send once a day.
Twenty years ago in a mostly print/network TV world big news events received a ton of coverage as well, but the newspaper came out just once in the morning. You read it then, went on with your day and read the next update the following morning.
Pick times for news checks
Especially in the context of getting work done, don’t check the news all day. Check it once in the morning, maybe over lunch and again in the evening. Get the highlights. Consider a mix of national and local news.
Jaci would recommend to stick to news coverage and not opinion or talking-head talk shows.
I wouldn’t mind getting texts in this scenario of content that I truly need at that time. Something that personally is affecting me now!
Evaluate the source and content
Consider who is being quoted. Are they the expert on the topic? For example, medical professionals should really be the ones sharing the medical tips and updates.
Consider following your local government agencies to see when they have updates. Some of that information does not need to be filtered through the media and can be viewed right from the source. Also keep in mind that there need to be checks and balances.
Understand the difference between political and health news
There’s a difference between political news and health news and it’s important to understand and consider the difference. That became especially apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic when the two sometimes were mixed together.
Political news involves what the government is doing. Former President Trump enacting a travel ban for the Schengen area in Europe falls into this category. So does how Europe is reacting to it, what people are thinking about, how Americans currently in Europe can get back to the USA.
President Trump blaming the Obama Administration, which hasn’t been in office for three years, for CDC issues also seems to fit here.
Health news involves what those Americans in Europe should do to disinfect their airplane seats on the trip home. Other health tips fit here and also when there are new cases in a specific geographic area.
Anything that relates to the health aspect without a political twist – in theory.
And how about our children?
Jaci recommended to communicate with children at the age-appropriate level. Don’t let talk shows or news run in the background. Children may listen without asking questions.
We certainly need to watch, read, listen to the news to know how the coronavirus is impacting our lives and it certainly is doing that to many around the globe in many ways.
But we also can’t make news consumption a full-time job that cuts into our actual full-time job.