News that’s fit to print

May 28, 2018

I’ve wondered for a long time when I would stop reading all the news every day. It just seems that each day, more and more crap gets printed online that is either just depressing (e.g., human rights abuses world-wide), repeated (e.g., anything to do with the Stormy Daniels garbage) or flat out ridiculous.

I don’t mean all of it, but much of it.  Often, it’s the same old stuff just re-hashed in a different way.  In fact, many times the story is the same with just a new headline with a few new sentences.

And then there are the stories that are purely just filler.  Now, we use filler in The Cuenca Dispatch, so I understand the need for it.  But, let’s be serious: do I really need to know, or care about, “A judge sides with parents and rules their 30-year-old-son must move out?”  This was actually a “Headline U.S. News” story on Google this morning!

The serious stories (e.g., school shootings) are something I need to know about, but they are so overwhelming at times, that all they lead to are thoughts of frustration, as opposed to constructive ideas of how I can help change the situation.

So I’m starting to wonder, why do I read it all?  I am still so attached to my former life in the U.S. that this stuff still needs to be a part of my waking day?  As the publisher of a newspaper (and a columnist), I technically need to keep abreast of everything that is happening so that I can keep our paper on the right track and so that my columns can have relevance.  But at what expense to my mental health?

I think about our life in Cuenca, and how easy it would be to ignore the rest of the world.  I could just refuse to read all of this garbage each day and live my life to the end here, without swallowing more and more of the poison that is printed.  It would make the days here seem happier.

But unfortunately, much of what happens worldwide trickles down to us here in Ecuador.  We live in a big world and things happening on the other side of the globe have an impact here.  So, blocking out everything is not rational.  There are simply just some things we need to be aware of.

What would be ideal would be to be able to find a neutral news source that gives us only pertinent things.  Not all the filler.  Just critical news that may have an affect on our lives here.  Or things that are making an impact on the word that I could actually affect some change on.

Because if it is just more depressing drivel, that I have absolutely no ability to prevent, why am I letting my psyche be damaged with it?  Maybe this is a cop out, but I don’t want to know about horrible stuff that I can’t in anyway change.  Perhaps I feel this way in part because I am not an idealistic 20’s-something anymore.

Thirty years ago, I felt like I could change big things in this world.  Time and reality have made me see that I could make little changes, locally.  But to make them nationally or internationally, my life would have had to have been dedicated to almost laser-like focus on one issue.  And I just didn’t have that kind of goal.

Now, I did get involved locally over the years, even becoming the chairman of a non-profit at one point.  That was fulfilling, and the news around the issues we dealt with was very important to me at the time.  So, I read everything I could within a certain area of interest.  I looked at the rest of the news briefly and then moved on.

Maybe that’s where I’m at again.  Maybe I just need to focus on the local stuff here in Ecuador, read the rest of it on the periphery, and ignore much of it that I absolutely cannot have any impact on.

I hope what we print in Cuenca Dispatch is useful to you; that it’s not overly depressing and doesn’t make you feel like you have no chance of making change in the world.  We strive to be the kind of news source that brings you what you need to know locally.  When we use filler, our goal is that it will at least give you a smile or share with you something you didn’t already know.  Sometimes we repeat stories that you may have seen already.  Being a weekly newspaper makes that a little difficult to avoid.

Things are different, of course, with the CuencaHighLife website, which is a daily news source.

So, what about how I’m feeling about all the rest of the stuff I’m reading?  Well, I’m going to keep reading a lot of what is printed online, but I’m going to become more selective.  If it’s something I can’t influence, I’ll wait until the final story is written (e.g., the Mueller investigation).  At least that way my brain will get a little rest from the information overload of junk.

As I said, maybe that’s a cop out.  But then again, maybe it’s just my new reality of what’s important and what isn’t.

I’m just sayin.’

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