The entire month of April I experimented with not trolling news sites for news. I did this for several reasons:

  1. I didn’t feel that there was a good return on the time spent.
  2. Most of the ‘mainstream’ news sites are trending toward the meaningless and sensational
  3. Most of the ‘high-brow’ news sites have little substantive content and are mainly process stories, poorly-sourced he said/he said, squabbles or sensational dreck about controversial bills that will never pass.
  4. Most of op-eds are repetitive and ultimately predictable.
  5. Paywalled-news sites annoy me on many levels.
  6. I wanted to see if I could get by with finding out news from other sources – friends, family and coworkers. I did read the news clips sent around at work, because they were work-related. I was forced to see news headlines at the gym.

It worked in that I didn’t visit the Washington Post, New York Times or Huffington Post once (other than when someone sent me a story). I heard about Margaret Thatcher, the Boston Bombing and a bunch of other things. The nice thing was that I didn’t need to spend much time on them.

It didn’t work in that I felt like I lost some context. I was a little less informed than most people I interact with. Current affairs became like sports – a subject on which I was equal parts lost and indifferent about. It was a weird experience.

I may keep the blackout going for a while. I may try some sites that could provide a better return on time spent. Maybe Slate, Salon and a few others. I will avoid the pay sites and ‘National Enquirer’-type sites like the Huffington Post.

One month of news blackout