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Almost a year ago, I quit reading local news. Stopped hitting the main news sites 10x/day, stopped picking up a physical paper when I happened across one. I'd already stopped watching televised news.

I'd found that too much of what I was seeing was simply irrelevant and it either frustrated me or pissed me off.

Since that point, research into the influence of PR/publicity companies on local news showed that our primary newspaper in South Australia was comprised of 30% content pushed by PR/publicity. The online versions of the main paper here have devolved into eye-ball seeking trash - bikini galleries, celebrity gossip, etc.

Through this experience I've learnt how little I really miss. 99% of what's going on just doesn't need to be known.

I check Al Jazeera English once or twice a week and CNN a little less often. Other than that, I feel like I've saved some time and cleared my head a little (especially of some of the negativity that comes from news).

I've done something similar. I pretty much ignore what's happening on the news. Anything really big usually ends up on hacker news. :)

I do listen to a local radio talk show once in awhile to get an overview of what's happening in my state and sometimes the country. I've been meaning to watch Al Jazeera English more. I've enjoyed it whenever I've watched it.

Here's their site in case you want to bookmark it and take a look now and then: http://english.aljazeera.net/

Occasionally there's a story there that I find interesting but often it's enough to skim the front page.

I already have the site bookmarked ;)

you've independently rediscovered the principle of "if news is important or relevant enough, it will find me!"

This is fine, as long as you take the next step and also don't vote.

If you choose not to be informed, it's really irresponsible to inflict your opinion on others via the voting booth.

In Australia everyone is legally required to vote.

Is there any law against submitting a blank ballot? If so you can just write yourself in for every office for which you are eligible, and pick a friend to write in for any others.

If there's a law against a blank ballot AND write-ins are disallowed, you live in a sham democracy where an elite wants to legally compel you to signify your assent to its illegitimate rule, and it is your democratic duty to boycott any such elections in order to highlight their illegitimacy.

You can certainly submit blank or invalid ballots. One bloke I know has been writing "You must be joking" on his for years.

Technically, you're only required to attend a polling station and get your name crossed off.

What happens if you don't?

You get a letter asking for a reason why you didn't turn up and they fine you if they don't think it's a good enough excuse.

My mother once wrote "I think compulsory democracy is a contradiction in terms". They fined her.

How did they know it was her?

They send letters to everyone who hasn't had their name crossed off the voting list.

I assumed you meant she wrote "I think compulsory democracy is a contradiction in terms" on her ballot.

No, he meant she wrote that on the excuse letter.

Yes I completely misunderstood! Thanks both for setting me straight.

I'm pretty sure you can donkey vote and if not, I can't see how they'd ever find out anyway.

Then you are morally obligated to be informed.

There's informed, and then there's scraping every news site that you can in order to feel more informed. Prawn's original post said:

"I check Al Jazeera English once or twice a week and CNN a little less often."

I think that's more than enough to stay up on current issues.

Where does he get his local news and regional news? Does he not vote for those offices?

Sorry, I also check ABC's news feed (usually Just In and the local part) and with a partner who works in media plus AM radio to/from work I stay aware of what's going on. I just try to completely ignore the trash that infests mainstream papers, FM radio, etc.

Pretty sure I don't need to see the latest set of bikini shots News Ltd has stolen from Google Images because some celebrity tweeted about something mundane to stay abreast of the real things that matter.

I think you've jumped to a conclusion here. As anthonyb started pointing out (and I added to), I do follow general world news, read long-form pieces if they seem interesting and stay abreast of local issues very occasionally through the ABC, chit-chat with friends and colleagues and hear AM radio in the car (my wife listens to it for work reasons).

Think of what I tried to explain as removing some junk food from the diet - or driving through backstreets to avoid the roads they're on!

I'd guess that my media-light diet might have me more informed than many out there who'll read whatever catches their instinct-driven fancy, do you agree?

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