Thinking of the news


It is almost 10:30 pm and one can still see a little bit of light in the sky. I suddenly thought about the news.

I stopped watching news in 2004. I am preparing breakfast and getting ready to go to work at 7 am. The six pm news are too violent to watch them with children around. The 10.30 pm news are too late to make any sense of them. Newspapers are such a waste of fiber, ailment and what can one find in them that is not available in internet?§

Thus, symptoms my main source of regular news is The Economist, life which adds a nice weekly regularity to my view of the world. It also gives a step back from the urge to keep up to date with frantic change. I need to explain; I do not have my own subscription to the magazine, but one of my colleagues does. My rank is third in pecking order, so I am usually one week behind of the current issue. In addition, the preparation cycle for the magazine—writers submit the articles, say, a week in advance—makes for a more meditative approach to news. There is less of sound bite and some elements (at least) of analysis.

Despite of all the time using the web (wasting time since ‘94) and some rusty technical ability to put things together, I cannot cope with the CNN approach to news. I am writing about the split-screen, multilayered approach with text flashing at different levels, because there are too many things happening simultaneously… This, it is the end of the world, so we have to squeeze all the news in the next two minutes. Please, one thing at the time, with more than one sentence, compare/contrast, give examples, What is the opposing view? I know, it sounds Luddite, but I am not against technology, but for using technology to enrich understanding. Slogans are almost opposite to understanding, and that is what the scrolling pieces of text are: slogans.

I now remembered radio. I also stopped listening to radio. I used to follow Radio National in Australia. Well, not all the time, but when driving my Ford Cortina 1972. Then I changed cars and I stopped, not sure why. I liked AM radio, but when moving to NZ I could not find a decent radio program. I am sure if I look around I could find one, but I do not have the motivation. Maybe another day.

That leaves The Economist, supplemented with some web searches if I find something interesting. There has never been so much data available before in the history of humanity. We have never had before the current speed to propagate data. So, How come that we understand so little? Maybe we become so excited about learning new things, that we never want to spend the not-so-exciting time required to deepen our knowledge and understanding. It is harder, it takes longer, but it is richer. I am trying to go for richer.

I wrote the text above with a few interruptions. It is now 11:15 pm. Time to rest, meditate and forget the news.

Filed in miscellanea

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