Meet Sift, an experiment in news therapy

If you feel anxious or overwhelmed by following the news, you’re not alone. 68% of Americans feel exhausted by the news, according to a recent study by the Pew Research Center. Staying informed is a civic duty that carries with it an emotional burden. And news anxiety can lead to feelings of learned helplessness, even when we want to help. Our civic engagement and, in turn, our democracy inevitably suffers.

We created Sift because we believe there’s a way to stay informed and feel empowered at the same time.

There are many reasons why our news ecosystem is so overwhelming. A vital industry is trapped in a broken advertising model that incentivizes the wrong things. Social media platforms bolster our human and algorithmic penchant for tribalism and confirmation bias. All of this has contributed to a deepening national political divide.

Sift certainly won’t solve all of this, but we’d like to make a difference.

Get the iOS app and give it a try

Starting with an experiment

We wanted to start with a topic that’s complex, contentious, and ongoing. Since first- and second-generation immigrants make up nearly a third of the U.S. population, we decided that immigration policy would be a widely relevant topic to help test our assumptions about what makes for a more empowering reading experience.

Sift intentionally covers contentious topics. They’re contentious because they’re hard, because they’re misunderstood, and because we’re often unable or unwilling to grant ourselves the time, space, and mindfulness to pursue deeper understanding.

When we write and design for Sift, we’re not trying to preach to a specific choir. What we want more than anything is to create space for all of us to pause, reflect, and better understand the world around us.

Hyperbole, partisanship, passive aggression — and just plain aggression — may make for tantalizing headlines, but they have no place in Sift.

Going right to the source

Checking our assumptions

We’ve incorporated these data-centered interactions to give you a chance to check your assumptions. This can help us uncover our unconscious biases or simply find out what we know and what we don’t.

Now it’s your turn

Try Sift for iOS, give feedback along the way, and feel free to reach out at

Find us on social media

An experiment in news therapy. Feel more informed and less anxious when you face the headlines.

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