Ingesting news stories with as little trauma as possible
May 17, 2022 8:39 AM   Subscribe

How can I get news headlines without details, that allow me to find more information only when I want it?

For the sake of my mental health, I have mostly ignored the news since November 2016. Stuff seeps in, but I'm not actively engaged in seeking out the news.

I've recently joined the diversity and inclusion team at work. And they frequently talk about the news, process things together, etc. This morning I got an email from our chief, ahead of a in-person conference this week, that talked about processing our collective grief together. So I figured something happened recently, and went to Google, and read about the shootings over the weekend. But doing that exposes me to a bunch of stuff, like other headlines, political stories, etc, that I'd rather not see. I mean, I knew I was going to be reading about racially motivated killings, which was horrible on its own.

So I'm looking for a way to see dispassionate headlines only, and then I can choose what to read if I want more details. I'd prefer as little unrelated information as possible, but I realize that might be too much to ask. Google news, for example, just includes a lot of stuff, so I'm looking for something with less free-floating information.

This isn't about me dealing with trauma, because I'm engaged in a number of other activities that regularly expose me to people dealing with their own trauma, and I'm working on learning how to hold more emotional space for this work. This is about minimizing my own exposure to the news while staying informed, so that my energy can continue to assisting others.
posted by Gorgik to Media & Arts (13 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Part of processing collective grief is sharing resources that help with that. So it could be a good process for your DEI team to share links to content that distills, analyzes, provides context for events in the news ahead of meetings. That will not only fend off burnout (and improve efficiency) but it will also center organizations and voices that should be heard in these situations.

A second option would be to work together to develop a list of reliable go-to sources for that kind of information so you can avoid both the sensationalist clickbait around the topic and the endless self-congratulatory DEI fluff that's out there.
posted by headnsouth at 9:01 AM on May 17, 2022

Best answer: I signed up for the What the Fuck Just Happened Today daily email back in 2016 or so, and it has been a wonderful gift to my mental health. I choose when to look at it in accordance with my emotional bandwidth, it summarizes the main news of the day in one paragraph, and it provides more details and links below the summary if I want to know more in an itemized list. They are on hiatus until May 31st, but I highly recommend it.
posted by sugarbomb at 9:17 AM on May 17, 2022 [5 favorites]

Best answer: CNN Lite just gives you a list of headlines you can click on as you choose, and each headline links to a text only article.
posted by the primroses were over at 9:52 AM on May 17, 2022 [4 favorites]

Best answer: I get my general news from Axios in an RSS Reader set to its most compact layout. Basically turns into a list of headlines, without pictures. And it tracks what I've read before (like email), so I'm not wasting time trying to figure out if something is new or not.

Axios doesn't do clickbait headlines, ads, or long winded editorials; they don't post a ton of content, only around a dozen posts a day.

Most news sites have RSS feeds, so you can do the same with other sites if you need more from the firehose than Axios provides.
posted by meowzilla at 9:58 AM on May 17, 2022

Best answer: There's a just the facts daily news email that just got posted over on Metafilter Projects that you might find useful.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:04 AM on May 17, 2022 [1 favorite]

Something that has helped me deal with news headlines in the last few years is a kind of mental practice of trying to distance myself from the emotional reactions that the news outlet in question is trying to provoke in me.

When I look at, for example, the front page of the New York Times, I've come to understand that while they publish a lot of very good journalism, they also publish a lot of regurgitated, fairly predictable analysis that doesn't really tell me anything I don't already know. And all of it -- news and commentary -- seems to be run thru a kind of filter that turns it into, loosely speaking, high-toned clickbait for worried progressives.

Understanding how the NYT is trying to manipulate me helps me avoid the manipulation. Instead, I can scan the headlines and steer clear of anything that looks unlikely to shed new light on things, and/or seems designed to get me to click out of anxiety.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 10:21 AM on May 17, 2022 [1 favorite]

FWIW, I think CNN plays this game also. The Washington Post does too, but to a slightly lesser extent than the NYT, IMO.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 10:22 AM on May 17, 2022

I prefer the actual printed local newspaper for this reason. I can scan the headlines without focusing on the text, then read the article only if it's something I feel able to handle.
posted by metonym at 5:17 PM on May 17, 2022

Best answer: PBS NewsHour Select emails will keep you updated on the most significant news stories and I find them to be pretty dispassionate and straightforward.
posted by fies at 5:53 PM on May 17, 2022

This is more politics-journalism-focused, if that's your jam, but Current Status is just headlines and a one-sentence blurb. It's basically an index of what the politics journos are tweeting about at the moment.
posted by emelenjr at 7:53 PM on May 17, 2022

Best answer: A project I just recently posted over on MeFi Projects aims to provide exactly what is being asked for here. It's a reboot of a project we ran from 1995 to 2000. I invite you to give the Daily Brief a try. It's free. :)
posted by jkrobin at 12:49 AM on May 18, 2022

2nding using some form of RSS reader. You can pick your outlet, and I imagine there are some readers that will categorize based on search terms. You're not asking for a lot from it, so there are probably free readers that will satisfy your requirements.
posted by Jack Karaoke at 3:36 PM on May 18, 2022

Response by poster: Thanks all. CNN Lite was what I imagined I wanted, but I'll check out the other suggestions, too.
posted by Gorgik at 8:09 AM on May 25, 2022

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