Thursday, November 28, 2013

Fair, Balanced by Choice

For most of the 20th century, magazine publishers and their advertisers made big money  putting out movie magazines for the (mostly) women of the world. The idea of escaping a dull existence by reading about fabulous celebrity lives always left me kind of cold. If all I read about was people who seemed to have better lives than I do, wouldn't I always feel bereft about my own existance? There were only a handful of magazines - Life, National Geographic among them - along with the local and national newspapers that could always tell the other side of the story. And it's important, I believe, to feed ourselves equal parts of news - good and bad - to help level out our own existence.

We have the opportunity, in the digital age, to have access to such a wide range of news. Unfortunately, the government seems bent on trying to define a journalist in order to reign in who can and cannot present their opinions online; but until then, it's caveat lector and we're each responsible to vet our own resources.

Websites like Netvibes, Flipboard, and my personal choice, Feedly, allow you to bring in blogs and newsfeeds to create a self-curated collection of news and commentary from all over the globe, from all manner of sources. Certainly the combinations are endless, but my appeal to you is to take a moment and find ways to receive information on a wide variety of challenges facing our planet, our population, our country and the many components that make up a civilization. Yes, it takes time and attention to detail as well as rifling through a lot of bad prose, questionable facts and downright corporate-controlled propaganda. To get a better idea of how your neighbors are thinking, always skim through the replies. Better the devil you know is sometimes the best defense against rose-colored glasses.