How We Stay: Time for a media weight-reduction plan

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One of many scourges of recent life is having a bank card “compromised.” It’s a intestine punch when a string of purchases you by no means made hits your assertion.

When you’ve panic-dialled your financial institution, they’ll usually cancel the cardboard, reverse the fees and ship a brand new card with a brand new account quantity, expiration date and safety code. Then the painstaking technique of re-establishing your whole pre-authorized funds begins.

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My husband and I are going by means of this proper now. Annoying as it’s, a current safety breach offered the right alternative to overview bills that conveniently and mechanically get posted to our bank card. The largest shock? It appears to be like like we’ve been gorging at an all-you-can-eat media buffet.

I’m now attempting to get a grip on what our media consumption prices when it comes to cash, time, consideration and psychological well being, and taking steps to rein it in.


Presently, now we have print and/or on-line subscriptions to those information media: The Economist, The Globe and Mail, the Calgary Herald, the New York Instances and the Washington Publish. We additionally help a number of on-line publications, plus have somewhat dependancy to Prepare dinner’s Illustrated, a print journal for meals geeks.

We subscribe to varied streaming platforms, which I lump collectively as leisure media: Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple TV+, Crave and Spotify. Every one began with low charges and stellar reveals however now siphons rising quantities of cash for much less compelling content material. (I consider the time period is “farming your pockets.”)

On the social media aspect, I’ve accounts with Instagram, Fb and Twitter/X. Certain, they’re “free,” should you suppose the quantity of knowledge mining, promoting, misinformation and international meddling on this satan’s cut price actually is free. I haven’t signed on to TikTok and Threads but as a result of I don’t want extra spew.

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Oh, after which there’s TV and radio information. With the entire studying, watching, listening, posting and trolling, it’s wonderful I get something achieved.

I do not know how my media consumption compares to others. Possibly it’s regular, however I believe it’s over the excessive aspect. In my defence, I’m a recovering journalist skilled to soak within the information.

Educated or not, what number of people can deal with the firehose of data gushing into our lives from around the globe? And because the pandemic, the information has solely develop into extra horrifying, whether or not it’s environmental disaster, wars in Ukraine and Gaza, that pathological narcissist’s bid to re-take the U.S. presidency, the hovering value of dwelling and the alarming decline of democracy globally and proper right here in Alberta.

The gusher takes a heavy toll on our psychological well being. In fact, it’s torqued by the arms race of round the clock information and on-line algorithms that feed us extra of the unhealthy stuff we crave.

What to do about it? Some individuals are shutting out information utterly, which I feel is a mistake as a result of now we have a civic responsibility to learn about what’s happening round us. The trick is controlling the publicity.

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So, I’m experimenting with a media weight-reduction plan. Step one in curbing my consumption was beginning every morning by not turning on CBC Radio in mattress. Listening to the repetitive drumbeat of miserable information on the prime of the hour and the native information on the half-hour with promos for every in between is a corrosive method to get up and undergo the day. I used to cap it off with the information at 6 p.m., whereas making dinner. Now I tune in as soon as a day, or much less, normally within the automobile.

Truthfully, I haven’t watched TV information for some time. My creativeness is vivid sufficient that I don’t want these searing photos burned into my mind, however I used to doomscroll by means of Twitter/X like mad. No extra. Sanity means staying away from Elon Musk’s mess.

As an alternative of mindlessly leaping on Instagram and Fb at each pause, I’m trying to have interaction with social media simply as soon as a day and limiting my very own posts to occasional “postcards” from my life. Fb’s interface feels dated and protecting abreast of individuals’s lives is figure however I strive; in addition to, its Market is helpful. Advert-stuffed Instagram periodically affords surprises, particularly with awe-inspiring wildlife images and movies.

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As an alternative of getting my information by means of social media channels, I’m going on to the sources I belief – those that fact-check, corroborate data and have editors and ethics. This has been accelerated by the social media bros’ punishment of Canadian information media.

As for paring down on streaming providers, I’d borrow a web page from a good friend who subscribes to only one or two suppliers at a time. She’s consistently signing up for and cancelling accounts, relying on who’s displaying the good things.

I can see letting go of at the very least the print aspect of a number of subscriptions nevertheless it’ll be powerful. Print is a distinct expertise than studying on-line, extra reflective and well-rounded. I really feel it’s important to help journalism and to that finish, information media can cost extra for print.

Like every weight-reduction plan, my media weight-reduction plan will probably be an ongoing course of. I’m positive I’ll get one other reminder to take action the subsequent time my bank card is compromised.

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