There was a time when I watched the news every day. I would follow every timely news story and read up on all incoming headlines. Part of this was my need for information and my desire to be part of the “conversation”. Another part was feeling responsible to provide information to students and informing them about the world around them. I would try to make text to world connections as often as possible in order to keep subject matter current and relevant.
However, when I stopped teaching I still made too many trips around the current events buffet. I watched two different news channels and kept several different news’ tickers open on my browser. I could discuss what was happening in the country and the world with anyone at anytime. It wasn’t a source of pride for me; I didn’t think I was any better or worse than anyone else. It was just something I did. It was more or less a habit. It was all constantly on in my background. Floating.
I won’t even go as far as saying it is a bad habit. I will say, however, that it was too much. Too much information. We are constantly inundated with news and information every single day. We demand updates and ticker updates at the bottom of our screen. We expect new stories on our Twitter feeds and for the information to be refreshed when we demand it, not when it is available. When a situation isn’t resolved according to our timetable, then we become impatient and assume the people involved are incompetent and don’t know what they are doing. Our over saturated culture has become information rich but knowledge poor.
The news stories became too emotional for me. I can’t follow the massacres in Syria as closely as I would have in the past. The Sandusky trial would tear me apart if I followed it day by day. There are some stories in the news — the list goes on — that I am far too sensitive to follow as attentively now.
And now I approach information like I would have approached it in the glorious olden days. I seek it out. It is still all available to me — the same amount, if not more, as it was before. The only difference now is that instead of the information coming to me via so many different venues, I seek out the news I want. The television is rarely on now. The radio is on a kid’s channel. I no longer have news tickers on my browsers.
I was worried I wouldn’t be as informed, and yet I am even more literate than I was before. Whereas I before had current event ADD, I am now able to focus on events with the time and care they deserve. I’ve shut off all the channels and can now pay attention. No longer am I relying on catchy phrases and bumper sticker-style statements. I can now truly digest the language.
And now I can hopefully be more adequately prepared for the “Why’s” my children ask.