How do you consume the news?

I am something of a news junkie. I get my news in various forms–most often online, but also via television, radio, and even the old-fashioned dead tree variety. The news today is available in more places and more forms than ever before.

I see pluses and minuses in my news consumption.  On the one hand it can be useful to “know what is going on”. On the other hand, past a certain point I’m not sure how much being hyper-aware does for you. Reading the news is tricky because it is a form of entertainment, but it’s a “serious” one. We can justify spending a lot of time with the news by saying that as responsible citizens we need to “be informed”.

Newspapers AmishLike anyone, Amish too have an interest in what’s happening out there. However Amish consumption of conventional news media is generally more limited. Some catch radio broadcasts while riding to and from a job. The occasional person with computer access at work might browse internet articles. Word of mouth is its own category.

Not surprisingly, the newspaper is the most common way to get the news in Amish homes. Amish newspapers such as Die Botschaft and The Diary are among the most common. As Richard Stevick notes, “Acceptable reading materials vary from settlement to settlement…families frequently subscribe to the local newspaper.” (Growing Up Amish: The Teenage Years, p. 71).  Amish in Lancaster read the Intelligencer Journal, those in Holmes County the Wooster Daily Record.

Not everyone, even in the more progressive settlements, receives a daily paper however. Of my three closest Amish friends in Lancaster County, two receive a daily newspaper and one does not. I suspect in conservative homes the amount of English newspaper subscriptions drops dramatically.

The timeworn complaint about the news, of course, is that most of it is of the “bad” variety. Disaster and death get headlines.  I’d guess that uplifting stories are well outnumbered by ones that foster negative emotions.

It’s easy to point out things that Amish do differently and extrapolate that they must be happier because of performing behavior x or not doing y. In this case I do wonder if this semi-insulation from the news might contribute to a higher sense of contentedness among Amish. On the one hand you have the possibly-unsatisfied craving to know what’s going on all the time. On the other you have the threat of wasting a lot of productive time while overdosing on junky news.

How about you? How do you consume the news? Do you take in too much, too little, or just enough for your liking?

Newspaper photo: NS Newsflash/flickr

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    1. Forest Hazel

      Online, when I read it at all, and that usually is the local news. Everything else is too depressing, usually, or just irrelevant to me.

    2. Micheal McEvoy

      Most of my news currently comes from online sources. I do read The Connection and Mennonite World Review in paper form, I find the physical more satisfying, more relaxing and slower. There are several magazines that I read as well.
      After 20 years as a data and network systems programmer, I find a reluctance on my part to spend large amounts of time on-line or even using a computer.

    3. As an author, I want to stay up to date on current news, but I have definitely reached the saturation point. Hearing the same thing multiple times doesn’t make me better informed.

      I once had a college professor who claimed we would understand current events more by reading books that newspapers. Interesting idea.

      1. I like your professor’s idea Vannetta. History gives sometimes much needed perspective.

    4. I’m a print person. We subscribe to the Washington Post, and I can’t even keep up with that. I don’t like reading on the computer, although the W-Post is trying to encourage its readers to do that. I don’t watch TV news because I need closed captioning, and it doesn’t do live news well.

    5. Mine is all online. My Grandma who passed away in 1972 got the Daily Record, The Budget and the Grit.

      1. Christine

        Katie Troyer

        I am just a little we behind on my mail, but I saw you mentioned your Grandmother read the Grit. I thought you might be interested in this article from Wikepedia.

        I am from Williamsport, PA where the Grit was originally printed.

    6. Annmarie

      I am a news junkie as well…to a fault. I take it in- in all forms…mosly online but I do watch it, listen to it and read it. I honestly think it is a bad thing for me. When we lost power to the storm, although we were cold, I honestly felt relief from not having the desire to see what was GOING ON. We would plug the extension cord into the car and put news on for 1/2 hour(as not to drain car battery) and that was really MORE than enough time to catch up with out it becoming obsessive. I remember we went to church that Saturday after storm and the priest said the loss of electricity really did get us back to a more natural rhythm. I would have to agree. We went to bed so early and 6pm at night felt like 12am. It was a little bit of forced slowing down:)

      1. Annmarie I find that is one of the benefits of traveling. Unless you have an iPad or something so you tote the temptation along with you 🙂

    7. New York State of Mind

      I get the newspaper a couple of times a week especially on Sunday because the coupons are in there and I watch the news daily. I don’t think I over do it-but maybe I do.

    8. Erin

      I like to read 2 local newspapers online daily. I also get the paper on the weekends because there is usually Ideas or Things to Do around the area.

    9. I listen to NPR on the radio and have an online subscription to the New York Times. Every once in a while I take a week of news fasting and have found that the world pretty much keeping turning without me worrying about it at all.

    10. Carolyn B

      I get half my news from the internet and the other half from local TV stations’ news.

      The TV I watch until the weather or sports come on unless they have a teaser to something they’ll air in the last 2 minutes of the broadcast.

      If I could afford the $$ and the time to store/recycle, I would love to subscribe to the printed Sunday edition of my local newspaper. That day’s edition has the most fun like a dream home article not to mention the coupons usually enclosed.

    11. Linda

      If we take in too much news, then the news may be consuming us. It used to be that news traveled by telegram, telephone, and tell-a-woman!

      I devour news and information about the Amish on Amish America. Even weeks-old BUDGET newspapers usually have some news.

      I read news online and by email. Some religious news is in printed newsletters. For a bite size of general news, I listen by phone to Tell Me, by ABC News Now. The toll-free number for our area is 888-247-2425, “news”, “top stories.”

      NEWS is an abbreviation of N-north,E-east,W-west,S-south.

      1. Linda I’ve heard the same joke from an Amish friend; instead of “tell-a-woman” it was “tell-an-Amish” 🙂

    12. LeeAnn

      Newspapers Sunday and Wed. mostly for coupons, but do read the news. T.V. and some on the internet.

    13. Naomi Wilson

      Alternative sources

      As of the last couple years, my husband and I have almost completely eschewed mainstream media sources, finding them to be contain info that is misleading at best, and downright false at the worst. I follow a few economics-related blogs, and sometimes look at international-based news outlets like RT, The Guardian, and Al Jazeera. The internet can be such a huge distraction and time sink, though. It can get quite addictive. Sometimes it’s nice to know what geographically distant friends and family are up to via facebook. I really want a subscription to The Budget.

      1. Lattice

        I agree. I have a tendency to believe that, in order to compete for a reader’s/viewer’s attention, the news content must be exaggerated. So for several years I have not participated. Rarely, a news story will flash on my homepage that I am interested in, so I’ll read the highlight – not the story. The last news story I actually read was when the Penn State tragedy first unfolded.

        I really, really trust in the Apostle Paul’s words from Philippians 4:8 ” Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (KJV).

        I KNOW that I am a contented person because of it. Maybe I just seem a little simple to others when I cannot intelligently participate in discussions regarding current events.

    14. Katrina

      Mainly online, through several websites; local radio stations; and one TV channel that we trust. We ignore the other TV channels.

    15. Julie Turner

      The news... whats that????

      I tend to stay away from all the news. I really don’t want to hear all that is sad and depressing in the world.
      It may be a bit naive, but I find it helps me to keep a positive perspective on life, if I just don’t know.

    16. Ava

      Getting News

      I’ve always liked printed news best. In can’t afford the local daily paper, but I’ll read the local weekly paper, and usually find out everything else by word of mouth, unless something major has occurred. Then I’ll resort to the television news, even though the constant chatter of the anchors and reporters usually gives me a headache! Sometimes I will read online, but rarely.