The news is driving me crazy: Confessions of a journalist

There seems to be a little too much current in current events.

Until relatively recently in the arc of my existence, I felt it to be my obligation—as a thinking, civilized being and medical journalistto keep up. You know, just…keep up (beyond the medical communities I served). That used to mean a certain amount of reading, listening, or viewing every day, or maybe a few hours averaged out over the week. A local newspaper, national TV news, and NPR on the commute daily, Time and/or Newsweek and the Sunday New York Times weekly, maybe The Atlantic and/or New Yorker monthly. That was so cute of me.

kayla-velasquez-199343-unsplash

But wait, there’s more… (source)

You’ve heard of mission creep. I guess I’ve had news creep. The news is taking up too much of my time, while simultaneously becoming more creepy. And available on too many platforms.

Or maybe this civic-minded to-do list of mine has ebbed and flowed throughout my life, and for some reason I’m finding it more difficult to get off the top of the wave at this particular high-tide, storm-surge moment in history. That’s actually a good possibility.

Chill, dude.

If only the news didn’t seem so tied to survival at this point. If only I felt less obligated to be part of a well-informed citizenry. If only frogs had wings, they wouldn’t bump their ass so hard.

So, I’m sure that support groups are available for people like me, and various approaches have been forthcoming that somehow require me to shut up, concentrate on my breathing, and ignore the breaking news notification on the phone.

If only the news didn’t seem so tied to survival at this point. If only I felt less obligated to be part of a well-informed citizenry. If only frogs had wings, they wouldn’t bump their ass so hard.

Another possibility: It’s simply impossible to keep up. And the fact that I ever thought I was keeping up was itself an illusion. (See #thestorm, speaking of surges.)

One might hazard a suggestion: Hey, just try to get the high points, the bullet points, the one-page presidential briefing with eye-catching graphics. Here’s the deal: Drill down into any one bullet point and an ugly, time-sucking hydra appears: nuance. And even worse: the reliability of sources. It’s a nightmare. I wonder that any well-adjusted, informed people can exist. Let alone well-adjusted journalists.

Want to see how many of your local stations are owned by Sinclair? Check it out. The good news (like all news, it never stops): At least one journalist managed to come out of his Sinclair employment with his faculties intact, apparently (story here, if you have the time).

And last night, I found myself laughing at Roseanne. I mean the series, or the episode, not the person. I try to avoid laughing at people. (The Washington Post, by the way, is related to my journalistic ambitions in the first place #bobandcarl.)

Information overload also seems to be but one waving tentacle of the modern media milieu. If consumers risk obsession, so do providers, who are offered channelslike YouTubesubject to evolving private and public oversight in an era of celebrity worship. Yesterday’s shooting at YouTube’s headquarters is evidence of dark potentials and epic risks that exist and continue to grow. Information in, information out.

Ommmmm…

I’ll work on it. But please, someone give me a holler if we’re about to be electrocuted by current events.

Typewriter

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