I Read the News Today, Oh Boy . . .

| May / June 2005

How to stay informed while holding on to your peace of mind

During my 30s, as an on-the-go reporter in Los Angeles, I thought nothing of mentally digesting three newspapers over breakfast while half-listening to National Public Radio's Morning Edition and reviewing my to-do list for the day. I'd watch TV newscasts while I was dressing, then switch between all-news stations as I drove to work. By the end of the morning, I'd plowed through thousands of words. All this input was enough to make my head swim and my eyes bleary -- and it often did.

Mine was an extreme case of factoid oppression, which back then was confined mainly to people whose jobs demanded lots of media consumption. But these days the burden of too much news falls on almost everyone. It's difficult to walk through any public space without being exposed to some form of information input. Headlines and graphic images blare at us in checkout lines, at the airport, at health clubs, and on the electronic marquees of buildings. All day long at our computers, the world of mayhem and disasters is just a click away.