I’m taking the entire month of April to go free from all news websites. I already don’t watch TV news or read a newspaper – this will be the final step of a complete blackout.
Why? The signal to noise ratio seems to have dropped so much that it’s not worth the investment. All news venues are becoming like local TV news: blood, crime, shock, outrage, sappy features, etc. I spend too much time sifting this stuff for something I actually get some value from.
And I especially seem to get little out of all the current affairs, political, economic and policy wonk news. Subtract the horse race coverage, the he-said/other he-said, repetitive columnists, spin, process stories and so on and there’s not much left that actually matters. Goodbye Ezra Klein*, Wonkblog, Paul Krugman, Dean Baker, Huffington Post, Politico and The Washington Post.
Considering that this goes right to the heart of my day job, this will be interesting. Will I miss anything substantial? Will I notice? Will it affect my job? Or is it all a superfluous time suck?
All I will have in the way of news is writerly blogs, some nerdy sites like i09 that I get through RSS feeds, etc. If there is so much as a silent fart in Star Wars sequels news, I’ll know first thing. Video game releases, important publishing, sci fi or writerly news – I’m all over that
What will I do with all that time on the web instead – look up substance. Blogs that produce useful/interesting information, actual content I can geek out at, and I don’t know, maybe I’ll click around Wikipedia more. Or find sites with new knowledge for me, more Lifehacker-type stuff. Or read more. Or write more.
I’ll let you know in May how it went – and if the blackout will continue.
*Did you really think I would go dig up the links for all these sites I’m not going to pay attention to?