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Started by xbod72 on Dec 15, 2019 11:22:45 PM
Voluntary News Blackout / News "Dieting" - a support community

A while back I experimented with significantly cutting back the amount of news I consumed. I felt better for it. I ramped back up to consuming vast amounts of news for the election. I may shortly attempt to make something of a game of how little news I can see, hear and read but this has the serious aim of either improving my mental health or protecting what I have. I have spoken to other people who also feel that the news may be harming their well-being, especially after the recent UK general election.

Here we can discuss the morality of embarking on such a project; the well-being outcomes of doing this; what one is doing instead; the difficulties of putting this into practice and any associated matters.

It is not a thread to proselytise for the benefits of news avoidance and this is not a recruitment drive. I have already seen an appetite for something of this sort, so here's a place to talk about it and share experiences.

xbod72 - 15 Dec 2019 23:22:53 (#1 of 228)

I anticipate that some people may find it amusing to post both real news stories on this thread and false ones. My suggestion is to respond in such a way as to make this activity tedious, so always say "Thank you O Messenger" and otherwise not engage.

Tangent - 15 Dec 2019 23:29:55 (#2 of 228)

More power to you, xbod.

I do not think anyone should have to consume news, and, even where it doesn't cause potential harm - there is a lot to be said for cutting oneself off from it.

The exception is the kind of news that might affect you personally, where finding out stuff late on might be damaging. But you can make arrangements for that.

xbod72 - 15 Dec 2019 23:48:41 (#3 of 228)

Yes, there are a couple of topics directly pertinent to my situation that it might be hazardous not to know.

My advice is to sign up to newsletters that are highly targeted. If none such can be found, one can use the Guardian's All Topics index...

Each topic has its own page of collected articles and, whenever you visit, the latest articles will be near the top.

So you could add a folder to your browser's bookmark bar and only look at highly selective news.

TommyDCMBR8 - 15 Dec 2019 23:50:09 (#4 of 228)

I took the late Jeremy Hardy's advice and now take the World Service as pretty much my only news feed. It's great - it puts "us" in context - we're hardly on it.

widenation - 15 Dec 2019 23:50:10 (#5 of 228)

I've found it nearly impossible to enjoy fiction/non-news-related-narrative for months, possibly years. Now might be a good time to address that I agree.

xbod72 - 15 Dec 2019 23:56:00 (#6 of 228)

Tommy, I went through a phase of watching only Ch4's 7pm news bulletin and otherwise avoiding.

I think there are some other possible "diets".

One I think might be useful would be 6pm Radio 4 news alone. I have an idea that consuming non-visual news might be less invasive of one's mind. Also I think that the fact they can't rely on images may well make the format more informative.

Widenation, go for it :)

The news will still be there when we get back. If we do.

DesEsseintes - 16 Dec 2019 00:05:14 (#7 of 228)

Radio 3 doesn't have much news on it. If you do any other languages you can just have the odd bit on Twitter from elsewhere.

Or just decide what hours the machine is off for part or whole of the day, I guess.

I watch no tv and hear very little radio news. Have probably had more xbod news during the election.

xbod72 - 16 Dec 2019 00:09:47 (#8 of 228)

You mean from the daily headline logs I was posting on the election thread?

DesEsseintes - 16 Dec 2019 00:14:42 (#9 of 228)

Yeah, that and the running commentary. Bother with it less and less.

But I've been like that a long time, I guess. Used to watch Brian Walden every week back in the day. Just see what comes me way, what other people tell me nowadays.

SaffronSunrise - 16 Dec 2019 00:16:43 (#10 of 228)

You know when this thread drops off of the home page and you have to go and look for it in UK News....

Or when other UK News threads are on the home page, even?

I am concerned that there is possibly an inherent flaw present here somewhere & not at all seeking to be comedically snarky, honest.

I turned Marr off this morning.

breakfast - 16 Dec 2019 00:18:47 (#11 of 228)

Potentially this thread might be better off in the media folder if the mods will move it?

xbod72 - 16 Dec 2019 00:22:01 (#12 of 228)

I think I shall leave it for now, as it's this folder's news followers that might be most interested. Once we've got going then moving could be a very good idea, thank you.

DesEsseintes - 16 Dec 2019 00:27:33 (#13 of 228)

I read the odd bit of local news online, and buy the odd copy of the Morning Star in the Co-Op as well I suppose.

Also get emails from Labour, the union, &c.

goldfinch - 16 Dec 2019 00:31:51 (#14 of 228)

I've had a news blackout over the weekend but feel I now have to stay informed. Knowledge is power, or something. Though I might stay of Twitter. There are some vitriolic people on there and don't think they will stop anytime soon.

DesEsseintes - 16 Dec 2019 00:38:57 (#15 of 228)

I am like that with Facebook.

mikeshadow - 16 Dec 2019 00:40:16 (#16 of 228)

I usually watch BBC1 News at Ten for visual news reports. I also read news reports online.

Back in the Autumn of 2008 I got so fed up with Robert Peston’s over-excited reporting during the financial crisis that I stopped watching it for six months, by which time he had calmed down somewhat.

widenation - 16 Dec 2019 00:43:36 (#17 of 228)

I only really started regularly using twitter to follow both my Labour and Tory candidates in the GE campaign. It's only one example, but one half of this was almost totally vitriolic - and trying to counter/question this as a user seemed to serve no purpose whatsoever - it would just bring attention to toxic, self-affirming statements. He (Tory) lost anyway.

goldfinch - 16 Dec 2019 00:43:43 (#18 of 228)

I've been off FB for several months now and don't miss it at all.

Tinymcsmithy - 16 Dec 2019 01:20:14 (#19 of 228)


Antimatter - 16 Dec 2019 01:29:35 (#20 of 228)

I went on a temporary news diet in 2016 when it was ll just getting a bit weird. I also withdrew a lot from social media at the same time. It was a relief, there just seemed to me at the time to be some mass hysteria about some things/thing and nothing was making any sense. I gradually returned a bit to Facebook at least two years ago, I have still dropped twitter which appears to be still vile. Two years ago I dropped out of TV, and that was the best thing. When I child mind for friends, they have TV but the ads drive me nuts. I am far happier with a good book. I mostly listen to talk radio, and I do check up on BBC and CBC web pages first thing in the morning. But mostly I concentrate on my own reality, and it is a blessed relief.

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