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28.11.2023 |

Ignoring the news is no solution

Reading the news can help you come to an informed opinion. If you dont read it, there’s a risk of disinformation and filter bubbles. Nevertheless, quite a lot of people consciously choose not to read the news. What does that feel like? A self-experiment and call for the critical consumption of information.

Don’t read the news?

Leaving aside my professional concerns, I asked myself whether this was even possible. Can I completely avoid the news in my everyday life or deliberately do without it? I decided to do a self-experiment to find out. The report makes brief reading, as the first attempt failed miserably. I immediately deleted newsletters and stayed away from possible news sources on my computer. But I couldn’t resist the temptation of checking the news briefly in one or two apps on my smartphone. The second attempt to give up news, for which I deleted the apps, only lasted one day.

Doing without news isn’t an option

The conclusion of this experiment could be that I’m a news junkie. At first, this addiction seemed a little frightening. On closer inspection, I realised that I absorb news in two ways. The first is what I call “consumption”. A quick flick through the headlines and that’s it. The second way of processing news falls under the category of “interest”: I make time for topics that have my attention on an ad hoc or long-term basis. Time well spent, in my opinion. The information helps me form my opinion and make better decisions. So I don’t want to do without news.

Keep yourself informed!

Opinion-forming and decision-making; awareness, critical thinking and participation. These are just some of the reasons why you should read the news. There are undoubtedly arguments in favour of doing without: information overload, too much negative reporting, time, protection from misleading content, and so on. But I’m not convinced. Ignoring certain information limits your way of thinking. If you don’t inform yourself, you close yourself off to different perspectives and thus to constructive dialogue.

That’s why I don’t think you should categorically close your mind to the news. You don’t have to read everything to be informed. I have personal preferences and steer clear of quite a few topics. However, by regularly getting an overview, I always come across additional information that piques my interest. This way I learn new things and rethink my attitude to a wide range of topics. I believe this is essential for constructive cooperation in society and a democracy.

Be critical

In addition to being open to topics outside my bubble, when reading the news I try to follow another basic rule: Don’t believe everything you read. Different media and individuals have their own perspectives. It’s more convenient to read opinions that are close to your own. In this age of fake news and deliberate disinformation, you should always view what you read critically. This includes consulting sources other than your usual ones.

About the author

Patrick Preuss is interested in opinion-forming processes and democratic participation. He reads the news to avoid becoming blinkered.