Day 95 - News Websites

Whatever the differences are between Google News and Apple News, they are problematic in the same way: They offer too much fragmented information directed by headlines. While scanning the app for a story, your eyes pass over dozens of headlines. When you select a story, yet again your eyes scan through additional headlines, ads, opportunities to subscribe, images intended to entice. And on and on it goes, making it extremely difficult to settle on one piece of content. This is the reader's responsibility (to sustain focus), but how much control can the reader have? These apps are designed by juggernauts who know how to seize our attention and drag us down rabbit hole within rabbit hole within rabbit hole. It's not their "fault" necessarily. They are both the cause and the symptom of our bias, our drive, toward fragmentation of information. They're also an extension of a very powerful habit that has been growing and evolving since the earliest days of the Internet: refusing to pay for anything. Enter Google, pirating, and any other monster we choose to blame for the current state of digital media. There is an alternative: Pay for what you read. Pay for a subscription, read the stories thoroughly. Spend your reading time in this way instead of scanning through a news app that offers free stories. At least use the app as a secondary source. A supplement or a starting point for a strong publication. Find a publication that meets your interests. Maybe something you enjoyed as a child (e.g., animals, history, technology). Do some investigation to determine whether the publication prioritizes objectivity over sensationalism. Read that publication, primarily, for a few months or a year. And don't worry. You're not missing out on anything by putting down that goddam news app. Fear of missing out is how these things thrive. It's unhealthy. Pay for a good, well-intentioned, objective publication. Make it your go-to source of information for a while. Take a deep breath and enjoy reading instead of gorging on information. The gods of entertainment will thank you.  


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