Editor's Note: The following short column appeared last week in the Monterey County Weekly, one of our colleagues. We liked it so much, we're asking you to read it too.
There is so much happening in the world: pandemic, instant recession, police and protesters, elections, Trump, Russian interference, Yellowstone earthquakes. During a recent Zoom work meeting, a coworker marveled, “Remember when Australia was on fire? That was January.”
Media consumption and literacy is super important right now. But there is so much swirling around us, coming from multiple platforms and from mysterious sources, that it gets confusing. Here are a few ways to maintain a healthy media diet.
1) Slow it down. Make time to read slower, trying not to let emotions overrule reasoning. Click on embedded links and read those. Look up words you’re not familiar with. Consume news slower, like you would a meal.
2) Scrutinize it. Beware of media you’ve never heard of before. If someone is hostile to trusted sources — like the World Health Organization or National Institutes of Health — watch out.
3) Skew older. Reputable and long-established media have an interest in protecting their reputation and nurturing a long-term relationship with their readers, listeners and viewers.
4) Read other opinions. That includes media that has a different point of view than you hold. Know what (and why, hopefully) folks on a different spectrum are thinking.
5) Check sources. Watch out for media websites that don’t do original reporting, but simply recycle others’ reporting. Real news sites will reveal where their information, quotes and statistics came from.
6) Turn it off. When you’re oversaturated and you get too anxious, hopeless or confused, stop and read a book, go for a walk, do some handiwork or chores, play with your kids. Participate at your own pace.
Good night, and good luck.
Walter Ryce is the arts & culture writer at the Monterey County Weekly.