My Crippling News Consumption Habit

After closely monitoring my news consumption habits for the past several days, I have c0me to a scary conclusion that I barely read any news, as a journalist. But I’m always up-to-date with current events. How is this even possible?

I receive push alerts from major news outlets, such as CNN, BuzzFeed, and New York Times. Most of the times, I do not even have the time to open the app and read through the articles, but these push notifications provide me with enough information to keep up with what’s happening in the world.

It doesn’t mean I never read anything that’s newsworthy. Since I have to spend quite some time on Facebook to stay connected with friends, classmates, and professors, I run across many news articles through this platform. If I find something intriguing, I would bookmark it and read it later in bed. For instance, Facebook recommended me to read a New Yorker article called “Who Are These Trump Supporters” by George Saunders, who happens to be one of my favorite writers. I bookmarked it and browsed (definitely not a close read) through it later. Furthermore, I have a ton of intelligent friends, who are willing to update me with breaking news and political events (my previous roommate was a government major, and she couldn’t stop talking about Trump).

With a background in creative writing, I tend to bookmark things and go back to them in the future. Most writers have completely different reading patterns and social media engagement from journalists.

I only started using Twitter after joining the MS Journalism program. I have always been an active user for Instagram and Snapchat, but I have very different purposes for these platforms. For Instagram, I follow people who have the same interests as me — calligraphy, Shiba Inu, pet squirrels, and comics production. When I first set up my Instagram, I proposedly kept it “clean,” where every single feed would be tailored to my interest. I only use Snapchat for personal anecdotes or silly selfies, even though I am aware that it’s a great tool for storytelling.

Facebook is my main source of news beyond push alerts and weird reading lists. I put everything on my reading list, from tech-related tutorials (I’m a tech geek) to short fiction. But with Facebook, I carefully manage the content I receive and send out. I set Huffington Post as my priority, where I can receive a mix of hard news and fun articles.

Having closely monitored my news consumption habits, I realized how little news I read every day and would love to increase the number of push notifications I actually click open every day.

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