A White Pages Guide To Media Literacy (or something like it)
We definitely need more civic journalism that contextualizes the bad news with what we can do about it.
Thank you for this reminder that we do, in fact, have a bit of agency in what media we consume. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed recently with my current gaggle of news sources, and that’s even with less than I used to read! Related to this is the idea of minding your own business, which the writer Hanif Abdurraqib has spoken about (hat tip to Austin Kleon for blogging about this a week or two ago). Figure out the things that really are important to your attention, and allow yourself to let go of the rest. Not that you’re apathetic; rather, it’s about rationing your energy and caring so that it doesn’t get dispersed too thin.
You mention elevating journalism that is amazing; I highly recommend the Solutions Journalism Network for this. They are both a resource for training journalists in equitable, solutions-oriented reporting, and they collate stories and publications that do just that. In a previous life I worked as a journalist, and had the chance to train with SJN a couple times, and it was always so illuminating to be reminded that even very complex, difficult situations probably have someone who’s trying, however imperfectly, to make good change happen.
Wow, Garrett, somehow you always meet me where I am at! I think this also ties into "hopescrolling" ie. the opposite/secret true purpose of "doomscrolling" where we are compelled to read because we are searching for some shred of hope in the madness. I have tried to combat this on a personal level by only sharing action items and ways to help when a Bad News Event is circulating because I think that is really what most of us are looking for in those moments, more so than another righteous take that mirrors all the other righteous takes.
i had to uninstall twitter (right after it changed to x) because it was so depressing opening it every day.
Thank you for this! Super curious which reporters you or other readers follow, and which news sources generally feel aligned with your values? I saw an announcement that Substack was investing more in political news coverage so I'm interested in whether individual reporters will be covering organizing - know of anyone that's doing the good and hard work?
Can someone explain the Almighty Algorithm to me? Just about why my MSN front page on my computer every morning is primarily concerned with Pro Wrestlers Who Have Died Recently and The Trans Threat To Women In Sports? I’m not googling these topics, I don’t click on them, I don’t follow them online at all, but there they are, every damn time I turn on my computer. How do I get this crap off my front page, not that I waste my time looking at it anyway?
Of course I’m late to this (which is another “media intentionality” thing to explore...pace and cadence of our consumption!) and of course I adore it. I never would have written about media consumption this way in a million years and I so love the way you did it. I’d love to see a part 2 where you point us towards publications and/or specific writers that you see doing the good contextual work consistently. I will nominate The Christian Science Monitor to this list, having both written for them and read them and felt stunned at how rigorously and earnestly they are engaging the questions I really care about. Give these publications your attention, your feedback, and your $! I have recently canceled my NYT subscription and subscribe to the Monitor and I am feeling very smug and happy about it! Thanks for this Bucks.