The nice thing about a newspaper is it can’t send you a push notification.
COVID-19 cases spiking. The presidential election. Yet another Black man being killed by police. Murder hornets. Asteroids on track to hit the Earth. Walmart worried about a post-election riots. Over 500 kids being separated from their parents.
It’s like we’re all living in an alternative version of a Billy Joel song, only thanks to modern technology we don’t even have to hit play before hearing about the world burning.
Working in the news, I know I get more push notifications than the normal person. But even my most news-detached friends have complained to me about the pace and frequency of news updates lately. Even the CDC recommends taking breaks from reading news stories because hearing about the pandemic repeatedly “can be upsetting.”
Contributing to the problem is the way news is published on the internet — immediately, with nuggets that wouldn’t even have garnered a headline in the past now heralded as breaking news, and repeated loud and often on social media and cable news.
Don’t mistake me for one of those pining for the good old days of newspapers — far from it, I came up through the so-called “digital disruption” and think journalism is better and more robust than it ever has been. It’s just been a little much lately, and I’m starting to remind myself there’s something beneficial about having a finite amount of news to consume at any given moment.
Even if it means I have to wash the ink off my fingers.