The word “diet” typically relates to food. But we’re using it to relate to media consumption. With information at every turn, it’s important to keep a balanced media diet.
Burke Olsen shares his five step formula for balancing the media you let into your life.
How to Have a Healthy Media Diet
1. Choose to be informed
We need to decide to be informed. Make the decision to have news be a part of your daily life and seek it out. Don’t just let it show up on your feed. Consciously make the decision to find the information.
2. Schedule your news consumption
We don’t have a newspaper showing up on our porch everyday. We don’t have News Week magazine coming to our mailbox daily. So if you’ve made that decision to stay informed, put news consumption on the calendar. Leave a time everyday that you’re going to catch up on news. Download a couple news apps, listen to the radio, pick up a news podcast. Another thing you can do is sign up for an email newsletter. It’s kind of the equivalent of getting the newspaper. It comes to your inbox everyday, and you can skim the headlines and choose what to dive into deeper.
3. Vary your sources
Don’t just look at sources that confirm your own point of view. Look at the other side too. Find something on the conservative side, and then on the liberal side. And then, look at those sources that are in between. Keep in mind that news often comes with a point of view, or at least, the people who are being quoted have a point of view. Because of this. it’s important to see how a variety of organizations report the same thing.
4. Form your own opinions
If you decide to make news a bigger part of your day, take a closer look at what you’re reading. Figure out if it’s an opinion piece, where you’ll only see on persons view, or if you will see both sides in the same piece. It requires us to read more than just the headlines. We need to actually click on articles, read them, maybe even read the comments, go read something that is related, and then comment with our informed opinions. When we’re well informed, we can make informed opinions and decisions.
5. Outsmart the algorithms
With some apps, you’ll click on a story once and then find your feed full of stories like that. A way around the algorithm is to look for the button that says “show me more stories like this” or, “show me less stories like this.” This strategy puts you in the drivers seat of what content you want to be consuming.