Let’s change our news consumption
This is to all intelligent, curious people who care about the world. We ask that you to reconsider your news consumption. You’re being sold an old idea that no longer makes sense. The idea of being up-to-date.
Up-to-date is the very cornerstone of the news cycle. The news cycle is built on covering a constant stream of events, like disasters, conflict, crisis, outrage, revolutions, and press statements.
Unfortunately the news cycle isn’t really working that well.
It’s not having a meaningful impact on society anymore as it shifts so quickly from issue to issue that nothing sticks and nothing really changes.
It’s so overwhelming in its coverage that it’s unable to give you a deep understanding of the world.
And perhaps most importantly, it’s not good for you personally, as it numbs your emotions and tires your brain.
But the news cycle is good for business because they’re selling you a to-do-list that can never be completed. There will always be more news.
To get you hooked on the news cycle, they’ve sold you the illusion that you can gain control simply by plugging into the news cycle. That there is an end point where you will finally know everything there is to know.
And they’ve sold you an identity as a good citizen that is tied to up-to-date. That you need to be up-to-date in order to be a good citizen. That if everyone is up-to-date, then the system will work perfectly.
You should reject this idea of having to be up-to-date. For yourself and for society.
Here are 5 reasons why updates aren’t as important for society as you‘ve been lead to believe:
1 — Updates don’t give a solid picture.
Updates only cover certain events. Most important things in life don’t fit into the update-driven format of the news cycle. The slower, gradual shifts are usually more significant than the bursts.
2 — Updates are shallow.
Updates don’t paint a nuanced picture of complexity. They don’t give you enough insight to trigger reflection. Reflection is required to drive change. Simply being in the know is not a catalyst for real change.
3 — Updates inhibit curiosity.
Updates keep you boxed into a narrow agenda. The rushed, quick news cycle takes away your ability to discover new ideas. It removes the patience required to engage with other worldviews.
4 — Updates numb your emotions.
Updates need to be sensationalist in order to pierce through the overload of the super-quick news cycle. In the long run, these extreme sensations become too much to handle, leaving you no other option than to withdraw.
5 — Updates only look backwards.
Updates make you passive by keeping your eyes on the rear-view mirror. This limits the power of media and reduces you to a spectator. We need media with more foresight, hope and vision.
Once you realise that you can be a good citizen without being up-to-date, powerful things start to happen.
You realise that you can choose to be up-to-date within certain areas, at your convenience. Up-to-date is no longer an obsession controlled by someone else. It’s not a compulsion that overtakes all of your media consumption. It’s not the only way you relate to the world. It’s not the only agenda for your conversations about what matters.
The best analogy here is food. You have the chance to take control over your diet. You can pick the ingredients with the most nutrition. You can leave out the sugar and pre-processed crap. You can figure out what your body needs and eat only when you actually want to. You can find balance. And best of all, you can make food that tastes really good.
Up-to-date may be part of that diet, but you want it to be a conscious part of it. And you want up-to-date to be in balance with other forms of media. Things like analysis, stories, interviews, features, opinions, and advice. Things that make you see the world in new ways and reflect.
To create the best possible diet for yourself, you need a cookbook with some introductory knowledge. So we’ve compiled a list of the 10 most important ingredients for better media consumption:
1 — Slow down
Opt out of the sensationalist, urgent, ever-accelerating news cycle. Accept that control and full knowledge is impossible. Accept that the news cycle shouldn’t be the entire conversation.
2 — Reduce stress
Up-to-date is an illusion that induces guilt and fear of missing out. Take notice of the constant stress induced by the news cycle. Reject the ideas and services that create this unnecessary stress in your life.
3 — Intentional breaks
Keep media only for specific moments, not as a constant filler. Media can be something tasty in your life, a much-needed escape into your own mind. But it’s just one of many good things in life.
4 — Emotionally aware
Be mindful of media’s emotional impact and strive for balance. Media, like architecture, nature and food, is a powerful backdrop to your emotional well-being. Explore a range of emotions and stay balanced.
5 — Be attentive
Give media solid attention. Do one thing at a time. Your attention span is incredibly valuable. It shapes your ability to reflect, think, listen, remember, and focus. Don’t let it get too fragmented.
6 — Show patience
Respect others’ beliefs by hearing them out. Some views are uncomfortably opposite to yours. Other views seem outright irrelevant and boring. Respect them nevertheless. Hear them out.
7 — Multiple views
Embrace the contradictions inherent in engaging with a range of worldviews. Create your own view by multiplying many different angles. Accept that all angles are shaped by subjectivity.
8 — Pop bubbles
Discover new topics and ideas. Never stop being curious. To get outside your echo chamber, you need to enjoy the unexplored. Don’t get stuck in the comfort of the familiar.
9 — Nuanced thinking
Move beyond linear, one-sided stories of good vs. evil. Nuance paints a picture with multiple shades. Nuance is like nutrition in food. It’s at the very core of good media.
10 — Reward journalists
Support good journalism work to make it sustainable. The click-driven advertising model runs opposite to the ingredients above. To enable good journalism, pay the people who create it.
Flightmode was created using these 10 ingredients. We believe these ingredients will give you a type of media consumption that tastes so good and feels so good that you’ll want to come back naturally. No unhealthy addiction, no pressure around having to be up-to-date.
Flightmode is an app that provides a calm environment for you to read quality journalism. It recreates that old print magazine feeling digitally. We give you 3 daily articles curated by intelligent people. The intention is for these articles to trigger reflection. No constant updates, no endless scrolling, no noisy crap.
You can think of Flightmode as a tool that helps you create healthier, more nutritious, and more enjoyable habits around media. A tool that lets you trade quick news updates for slower reflection.
The Flightmode Team.
Flightmode provides quality journalism in a calm environment. Coming to an app store near you in June 2017.