Group Gordon’s Alison Berg shares tips for staying informed without getting overwhelmed by the news.
Working in PR, it is essential to stay on top of breaking news and mobilize clients accordingly. As an added bonus, my knowledge of current events helps me dazzle at dinner parties and back up my outspoken opinions.
While I believe that knowledge is our greatest power and that it is important now more than ever to educate yourself in order to stay safe, the combination of the 24-hour news cycle, emotionally difficult trends and events, and the accessibility of news through technology has also contributed to overwhelming news consumption and fatigue. Taking an active role in regulating your media consumption is important for finding a better balance. This is as true in the midst of a pandemic when we have fewer other activities to fill our days as it is in “normal” circumstances when news invades our quality time with family and friends.
Here are some ways to take control of your news consumption while maintaining your status as PR pro or amateur news junkie.
1. Selectively subscribe
Newsletters provide a simple way to get a roundup of the most important stories without a time-consuming effort to scour multiple sources. But, limit your newsletter subscriptions to the ones you actually read. Waking up to 10 unread emails in the morning adds unnecessary stress and virtual clutter, especially when you don’t end up reading half of them. Choose your favorite outlet’s newsletter, or as I prefer, one that curates from several sources. Options range from business-focused Morning Brew, sassy The Skimm, or the broader Axios newsletter. I also get industry newsletters that pertain to my clients’ verticals. Choose the frequency to suit your needs, such as once weekly, daily, or morning and evening editions.
2. Limit pushy push notifications
Have to be the first to know? Being the first to respond to breaking news is a critical component of PR. Phone notifications come in handy for this, but no one needs the same notification from five apps. I absolutely believe in reading multiple news sources to get diverse perspectives, but push notifications can be limited to one outlet that you trust. Find the one that best suits your threshold of what qualifies as important breaking news, and take it upon yourself to research the stories you are most interested in from other sources.
3. We don’t have to know it all
There is nearly limitless information about every topic filling our news feeds. While well rounded knowledge is great, even journalists, whose livelihoods depend on staying informed, need to choose a beat. We don’t need to be in-depth experts in every area. Take an “inch deep, mile wide” approach to the general news, and dig in to the topics that most interest you.
4. Take the guilt out of guilty pleasures
There is a reason there are 10 different “Real Housewives” series – enjoying fun, frivolous content is a universal impulse in order to seek relief amidst a constant stream of serious news.
My Twitter feed alternates posts from Brian Stelter to Land of Cuteness for a daily dose of baby animal content. Whether you indulge in fun memes, late night shows for comedic relief, shows like Some Good News, or sites like Upworthy for exclusively positive news stories, diversify your news and guiltlessly enjoy a few guilty pleasures.
Being an informed citizen is essential, but it’s easy to go overboard. By taking a more proactive approach to your own news consumption, you’ll prevent burnout and achieve a healthier balance.
This puppy who just had a really tough day at work pic.twitter.com/Y3S8BOo2hY
— Land of cuteness (@landpsychology) May 28, 2020