Learn How to Balance Where You Get Your News

By Mona Rock

From the age of 10, I’ve always loved journalism. Each night my mother, who was an educator at the time, and I would watch local and national news broadcasts and talk about what we witnessed. In elementary school, we would work on “newspaper projects” where we read local newspapers and wrote reports that summarized the articles. At that time, there was no 24-hour news cycle, so we were able to balance our intake of what was happening around us every day. Because of this daily routine, I was destined to be a communicator in some form. 

My college education and career has led me to spend nearly a decade in television news and 20 years in public relations and marketing. Throughout the years, I learned valuable lessons about how people consume information and why reliable resources are so important to us as we make major decisions in our lives. In today’s everchanging world, we have to be careful of how much news we consume and the sources we trust. 

Here are some important points to remember about information consumption: 

  1. Information is generated by humans; we can make mistakes. Everyone brings their own experiences to our jobs and communication is no different. We are all subjective, even when we try not to be. Sometimes because of space, time limits, and the race to be first—journalists, bloggers, and social media influencers are under many constraints as they file their reports or posts. Keep that context in mind as you consume their work. 
  2. Understand the difference between a columnist, host, and a news reporter. Columnists and many hosts are paid to share their thoughts about the news of the day (or week.) The news reporter’s role is to present the reader, listener, or viewer with the facts of the story (or issue) and they rely on the consumer to develop theirown opinion about the story. 
  3. Switch off the news and filter your social media platforms. Given recent news, I watch certain stories and read others. It helps me digest difficult news easier. I also streamline my social media feeds so that I see news, that I want to see. It is easy to use the blocking, muting and unfollowing features to control your information feed. 

As we process the events around us, it is important that we balance our information consumption to maintain a healthy mental and physical well-being. 

Mona Rock is a former Marketing Manager at Jewish Community Services. 

JCS provides a broad range of services that meet the diverse, multi-dimensional needs of individuals and families throughout Central Maryland.  We offer guidance and support when you are seeking solutions for emotional well-being, aging and caregiving, parenting, job seeking, employers and businesses, achieving financial stability, living with special needs, and preventing risky behaviors. To learn more, please visit our home page or call 410-466-9200. 

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