Then I got a Kindle and tried a mainstream newspaper subscription.
I quickly noticed that the newspaper often disagreed with what I'd "learn" from Reddit and blogs, and upon further investigation the newspaper was almost always correct. Apparently the Reddit circle jerk is not as good at news as professional journalists.
Trapwire: funded by rich people who don't want to get noticed
Flame: software showing off the usa's capability for cryptovirology and basically saying our most public stuff beats your best secret shit
Most companies are funded by rich people.
Who knows whether Trapwire "wants to get noticed"? They sell to giant organizations, not to the public.
Most of what you know about Trapwire probably comes via Stratfor thirdhand via Wikileaks by way of Reddit. Think about that again: your information started at Stratfor. It was then spun by Wikileaks. And then it was analyzed by Reddit. And you trust it more than the NYT.
And all the while, Trapwire had a web page describing all this stuff.
One reason why the NYT and WaPo and WSJ and Al Jazeera are so much better than Reddit at conveying the news is that they have something to lose when they get the story wrong. All of them trade on reputations that took decades to build. You can literally feel this in action as you race to start typing about how the NYT got Iraq wrong. Notice how you can't say that about any story on Reddit, because it's a howling mob of random people?
(FWIW: There are great comments on Reddit; their highs are higher than HN's highs, by a lot.)
Everyone wants to root for the underdog and everyone wants to belong. Non-mainstream sources of news give people an outlet for that which is why they get a pass from "truth seekers" who like to claim they have high standards for what they consume.
You have a very healthy attitude about news consumption. It's very reasonable and you made a great point. I'm not saying these alternative sources of news don't ever get it right. It's not about that. The important thing is not the source of the news so much as your ability to detect bullshit. Put another way, the important thing is being a smart consumer of news. Making the kinds of connections you make in your comment and asking those types of questions you ask are what is important.
If only we could all sharpen our critical thinking skills not only would we be better news consumers but all news organizations large and small, mainstream or not, would be forced to raise the bar on their reporting and journalism as a profession.
You make fair points, but what I'm trying to say is that I don't trust NYT because of stuff like this:
Out of all those organizations you listed, the only one I trust atm is Washing Post for reporting on the USA gov because they published this: http://projects.washingtonpost.com/top-secret-america/
I agree, reddit usually has stupid shit second-hand, is run by a publishing corporation, and has numerous terrible mods, but at least alternative opinions have a chance of influencing the claim of an article.
That piece is too inflammatory for me to take seriously. The New York Times wrote a hit piece on someone? A scurrilous hit piece filled with every possible rumor? Really? Every one of them, you say?
When you write something like that, you'd better be able to back it up with something more than moral support from Daniel Ellsberg.
You can't say you're a serious consumer of the news if you select the publications you trust based on whether they support your pet causes.
2. Pick an article
3. Go to comments to find out why the outlandish claim is wrong
Similarly politics, news; although a lot of that is selection.
Humans are by nature curious about what's happening, and no matter how much one bulks up at the local gym, they are probably not quenching their thirst in that way.
I don't think TFA is suggesting that you replace mainstream news with social news - just that you should cut mainstream news out of your information diet.
> Humans are by nature curious about what's happening, and no matter how much one bulks up at the local gym, they are probably not quenching their thirst in that way.
Humans are "by nature" a lot of things, many of which we've come to fight quite successfully. There's no reason why this would be any different.
If you feel like you need to "quench your thirst" for current news, maybe traditional outlets work better for you than social media. Personally, I agree with Joel; most of us in the modern world are gluttons for information, and consume more than we even want, let alone what we need.
Yes, I realize the irony of posting this to a social news site.
People aren't going to stop talking about these incidents and they aren't going to stop being terribly uninformed with just this blog post. What they need is some sort of media campaign to inform them of the real risk of dying and what they really need to fear.
This is what I called "fear inoculation", a term I coined at http://kibabase.com/articles/notes-and-thoughts#fear-inocula...
In essence, fear inoculation is basically protection against memes that promote irrational fear of certain things like terrorist incidents and airplane crash.
Anyway, do you have a citation? I have mine, which is http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/deaths.htm
go ahead, tune out the news. please stop voting though, democracy relies on the informed voter. and good luck in the capitalist economy, that one relies on information as well.
as this is hn, let's focus on the founder's perspective. if you have no clue about what's going on in the world, how can you compete within it? if you have no clue about your target group's current situation? pick anything, like healthcare - great opportunities, but good luck not staying informed.
back to the general reason why this terrible advice:
being ignorant makes you a terrible citizen. it is already bad in the US, if you're only watching tv news you're already clueless about the world. whenever i am in the us i am amazed about the lack of true world news - CNN International is a very different channel than CNN.
as a voter it is your frickin responsibility to stay informed. your worldview baffles me.
That's not to say that you shouldn't read books nor that the news is the best way to stay informed, but saying that reading books is the best way to stay on top of current issues is provably wrong.
It is about the larger movements that shape humanity. These aren't discussed in any meaningful way on the TV news except at the fringe. Books, and long-form magazines are accessible, concentrated stores of knowledge, and you won't have to waste time on daily gossip, which is useless.
However, the author then makes a series of suggestions for all the things you should be doing with your time, such as: (a) playing videogames; (b) mentoring other startup founders; (c) building your own startup; (d) writing on your blog; (e) going to the gym.
All of these suggestions for what you should be doing with your time are... surprise, surprise... things that the author does with his time, instead of reading the news.
The reflection I got out of this post was perhaps the opposite of intended: I need to stop reading HN!
*News being defined as important information about important events. (Not TMZ, GMA, opinion columns/shows, etc.)
In Switzerland, the best source of info is usually the documentation that comes with the voting papers. News is just noise and opinion.
Some issues demand more cultural/social context, "the full story" as it were. I think this context is probably best created by discourse and debate, but can also be augmented with news.
Of course, this leads to another media/news issue in the Internet Age: consumption bias -- only reading/watching media you agree with.
I try to maintain moderation and balance.
If something is important, people mention it.
But as an addendum to that it's also important to know and accept that, as a result, you are more ignorant. This isn't a bad thing, for as long as you know that you're willingly less informed. As stated, this is the opportunity cost for pursuing things more important to you.
As an aside, I'd like to recommend Flat Earth News to anyone who wants a journalist's insight into how the news isn't always truthful.
As another one, I saw a comment saying Americans are how they are because they don't watch the news. I disagree. Watching the news does not make you culturally sensitive.
I think it is reasonable to be an observer of your local news - the news which affects your immediate environment - otherwise rest of the long distance news is irrelevant so I am in agreement.
* Glance Newspaper headlines on the metro or at newsstands.
* Every quarter or so, pick up a copies of The Economist and New Scientist.
* Hit wikipedia for an intro to issues/subjects that I find interesting.
* Track down books/papers on anything that I want to delve deeper into.
HN: interesting technical pieces occasionally and good coverage of tech industry but is often an echo chamber (granted one I agree with) and features a lot of fluff pieces written by bloggers lacking original thought and research skills
WSJ: good coverage of business but features a world-view that's almost completely obsessed with money and right-wing ideology, yet the pieces are still thoughtful and original
NYTimes: I occasionally read to find out about world events since they have great breadth and coverage
Local papers: generally a crap-hole of AP content and crime reports but is useful for sports and city council/schools coverage
Slashdot: for teh lulz. but these people share my outrage at government intrusion in our lives so I like reading up
Facebook: I have good friends who link to good stories in publications I would otherwise never read
NPR/public radio: insightful and original story ideas, but they're very much into intellectual naval gazing
AM conservative radio: they're entertaining, and I enjoy hearing their take on recent events which often have a lot of valid points. at least they wear their bias on their sleeves even if it gets in the way of legitimate reporting/analysis
Local TV news: completely pointless and depressing recap of local crime and fluff pieces. useful in the event of local severe weather. decent sports interviews but mostly resorts to flimsy soundbites
Daily Show: you can always count on Jon to call people out on their BS and point out absurdities
Google News: extremely useful for getting up to speed on what's happening but is often trapped in a monotonous cycle of iPhone news, 'radical' health discoveries which are overblown, violence in foreign countries, and gaffe-centric political reporting
Twitter: I follow over a 1000 people so it's like sifting through a pile of periodicals in the bathroom which sometimes turns up some good finds but is mostly just perfume ads
The idea he puts forth is incredibly naive and has not been taken to its natural conclusion. He talks about the negative side of keeping up with the news while ignoring the many positives.
He puts forth a simple solution to a complex problem. The solution he comes up with is naive and extreme. The problem seems to be that news being biased and overwhelmingly negative puts a damper on your mood. It can also harm productivity when becoming too engrossed in it and when the news stirs up strong emotions. His point is valid but his solution is extreme.
I think it's this kind of attitude that is making Americans stupid when it comes to civics. People in this country (the US) have no clue what's going on in the world or domestically because they either don't follow the news at all or because all they can process at any given moment is some asinine sound bite that barely comes close to touching on the substance of an issue.
Following news isn't harming anyone's mental well being. Not following the news is what causes harm. We pay a price for ignorance and the bill is about due. Following the news keeps you informed, it expands your world beyond the narrow little bubble most people live in, and it makes you an informed citizen which then gives you the tools to make smart decisions and, if you're an entrepreneur especially, gives you insight into where your next opportunity may come from.
While Joel's points about the detrimental effect the news can have and the problems with the media itself are pretty valid, tuning out is the wrong solution. The real solution is to be aware that what you see and hear is often biased. Being aware of the business side of the news will make you a better, more informed consumer of news thus making any news you consume more valuable and often actionable.
Now, if watching the news and reading mainstream news outlets creates anxiety for you then you probably have to brush up on your skills as a consumer of news. You don't need to watch 8hours of CNN or read the newspaper cover to cover to be informed. Consuming mainstream news reasonably shouldnt be detrimental in any way to you.
Furthermore, the fact that he singles out "mainstream" news makes me worry. It implies that news sources outside of the mainstream are somehow better or more true. This is not the case. Many of these news sources outside the mainstream like the brag about how they are the only ones with the balls to report the "truth". Whenever anyone appoints themselves the authority on truth it's time to be skeptical. Everyone has an agenda and while mainstream news may have some major problems with bias and conflicts of interest, it doesn't mean they are completely without any credibility news outside the mainstream can be just as bad if not worse than mainstream news. These organizations often push a very biased agenda or peddle ridiculous conspiracy theories while claiming to be sources of truth. Many times both the conspiracy theories and extreme bias go together in a news outlet beyond the mainstream in an effort to push some agenda. I used to be a believer in "truth" and conspiracy theories (often being unable to tell the difference). Now I understand that truth is not always so clear cut. There are degrees of truth.
The best thing to do is not to ignore mainstream news but embrace it. Embrace it with a healthy amount of skepticism and logic. It will expose you to new ideas and keep you up on what's going on in the world. So long as you consume it smartly you won't have a problem.
This whole post seems to be born out of a non-problem. I mean it's a problem but a problem born out of going to extremes. I happen to be keeping up with the news and in particular the US presidential election. It sometimes makes me angry but not to the point of disrupting my life in any way at all. It doesn't keep me from being productive. I listen to the radio as I drive to the train and sometimes read a paper on the train itself. Thoughts of the news don't distract me at work or socially. And when I see or hear nonsense I can tell its nonsense and go on with my day.
This post is a recipe for ignorance. If you plan to live a monastic life or a certain lifestyle that allows you to get away with being uninformed then this is good advice. But for the vast majority of us living modern lives trying to get by in this world, it's a shortcut to happiness that has a price.
It just isn't. By and large, it's noise, which you either have time for in your life, or you do not.
I understand your worry about ignorance, and it's valid, but I believe that tuning into the noise makes people stupid.
Ignorance can be resolved much more quickly and on-demand than stupidity can.
A great 3-hour documentary on media censorship, consolidation and propaganda.
When the national news was 30 minutes every night, maybe there was time between that and the next 'cast to assimilate and critically consider what you heard. Nowadays, if you're thinking about the news, you're less than a click away from the next iteration of someone else's marginally considered opinion, presented with gravitas and authority. Heck, why think?
Turn it off. Check in every week or two -- they'll still be talking about all of the same things, there's nothing to miss.
So yeah, checking in every week or two works. That's fine. Religiously following news is just as bad as not following any news. So we can agree on that part - the checking in part. I'm not sure how often is necessary but picking up a newspaper or watching a news cast here or there is enough.
When you say "Heck, why think?" you seem to say it with disdain as if it were a bad thing. It certainly can be and these days it's doing more harm than good but part of what was great about the news is that it took the burden of thinking away from people. So then when you hear news, instead of trying to make sense of it yourself all you have to do is ask two questions:
1. "Do I trust the way this reporter has put together this story and why?"
2. "Do I agree with the viewpoint presented" (applies for opinions mostly)
News was biased from the start and news anchors did the a lot of the legwork of thinking for the viewer and it was okay because they could be trusted. It was only once "the powers that be" caught on to the fact that Americans trusted what they heard and once they mostly stopped evaluating it that they took advantage.
There was a time when Edward R. Murrow presented the facts to the American Public and very plainly presented his own opinions to the viewers and it was valuable and trustworthy. He used his position to help take down McCarthy when the House Unamerican Activities investigations were going on. In that situation it was well worth staying informed. People felt it was their civic duty to do so. It was also a situation where me opinion had merit and the other was clearly wrong. The news used to have nuance and it wasn't childish like today's choice of either "everything has to seem equal" or "all our biased opinions are right" type news networks/shows.
But I digress and romanticize the news. You're right. You're basically saying news in moderation is good. I couldn't agree more. Being a news junkie and ignoring the news is detrimental while moderate news intake is helpful. That's all I'm saying.
This is absurd.
The news is about reporting facts but facts are meaningless without context. Journalists take facts and put them into the proper context so that we don't have to. This isn't a new idea. It's been around for as long as there's been news and while some hacks do it badly and purposely distort the facts it doesn't mean doing it in and of itself is a bad thing.
I stand by what I said. Unless you've got a whole lot of time on your hands it's awful hard to put facts into context the way journalists do. I'm glad they take the work out of it for me because I have a job and I need to eat and I don't have time to play reporter and get my own facts so that I can some pure ideal version of the news. But I still need the news because I need to make informed decisions about things that affect me like where political candidates stand, how the new health care law affects me and if they recalled my car or some toy because the engine spontaneously explodes or the toy has some chemical that's going to kill my kid. I want to hear these things from people whose jobs it is to find out these things and not from Joe Schmoe who works at the local Walmart who read it from a guy who works for the guy that some news is about.
If you gross > $350k/year it is not good for you personally, if you gross <$ 100k a year it is a great law for you personally.
Spend 15 minutes talking to a Canadian, an American without insurance and medical bills, and anybody rich enough to have been able to afford health care at the mayo clinic, and you would discover this.
The meta point I'm trying to make here, is that we would be better served by discovering these things on our own, than into buying the propaganda around "death panels" or believing Obama when he says we won't make you wait in line for health care - both positions advocated by the various mainstream media channels.
What I've realized is that, in general, I'm not better informed about the world, but I am more indoctrinated into the Left Wing (NYT), Right Wing (WSJ) and Intellectual-conservative-laissez-faire-right (Economist) world views.
I guess for a more complete picture of the opposing world view philosophies, I could add BBC, al jazeera and CSMonitor to my mix - but these outlets don't inform, they promote their world views and, more importantly, pander to the desires of their audience. Suggesting the news is a way of getting unbiased knowledge of the world is like saying the Supreme Court of the United States makes judgements based on law.
You want to get an unbiased view of the world? Go out, and see it with your own two eyes, smell it with your nose, touch it with your hands.
I don't believe, after spending the last years comparing and contrasting the WSJs/NYTs takes on stories (often comedic in their different perspectives) that I'm any better informed about the world than if I had just watched the Daily Show, or even, god forbid, tuned into CNN/Fox News.
The one exception, that I've found, is Nate Silver's column - http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/. I'm not sure what worldview he is promoting, other than "Math is cool" - and I do tend to trust it with regards to what's happening in term of Polling data regarding the US election.
Other than that, though, I appreciated and agree with pretty much everything Joel wrote in his post.
You called yourself a news junkie. That right there is the problem. Being a news junkie is just as unhealthy as completely ignoring the media.
Watching the Daily Show is no different than consuming news from any other mainstream outlet. It may be satire but it's still news and it's still mainstream.
I don't know how you can say you're not better informed. If you consume news from anywhere at all then you're infinitely more informed than anyone who goes along with Joel's no-news-consumption advice.
I feel like you didn't read what I wrote because I do address some of what you say in my comment. I don't blame you though, I didn't realize it was such a long comment when I wrote it.
The part that you didn't capture, is that, by and large, listening to the "news" is not actionable, and mostly serves the purposes of indoctrination, and entertainment. There is also a difference between having a bias towards the truth, and just being biased. Saying "Man landed on the moon" is biased towards the truth. Saying "Science is a solution to many of our problems" is just bias. (albeit one that I have)
If something's really important, you'll hear about it (I would call that important subset of events the news, as opposed to the "news"). I fully support Joel's "Just turn it off and make better use of your time" position - you (and your community/country) will be better served.
Also - don't get me wrong, there is a difference between broadly educated, and well read (which I strongly, strongly support) - and being up to date on the "news" - which I see minimal value in.
For the record, I have read a fair bit of BBC News and CSMonitor in past years, and came away feeling that the Beeb was predictably middle of the road, and CSM was actually fairly good. I haven't read Al Jazeera but have heard it's more respectable than Americans expect. As for your other three, I agree with each. 538 is the only part of NYT that holds my interest.
I'm no better than tossing a coin at guessing Kennedy.
I'm not saying he isn't trying to push his biased world view on me, I just haven't nailed it down yet. Same goes for NPR.
I enjoy NPR, but I often feel a little too "over-chummed" after spending too much time listening. I worked in public radio (not national public radio) for a long time, and I know that it's very easy to assume that your listeners are a) the same listeners as yesterday, and b) agreeing with you.
And often they are. The wretched worst part about NPR is the sycophantic "I'm intellectual, you're intellectual, we're all intellectual here" callers on the few shows that take them. Spending too much time in the aural company of those people makes me feel insufferable.
The news is pretty solid, though. And the APM shows are excellent.
“I became a journalist partly so that I wouldn't ever have to rely on the press for my information.”
If something is actually interesting, then news sources which I have meticulously populated with interesting things -- my RSS feed and my friends -- will help find it. A politician giving another speech is not interesting. Another instance of a crime is not interesting. An editorial by a non-expert on something complicated is not interesting.
We pay a price for ignorance and the bill is about due...for the vast majority of us living modern lives trying to get by in this world, it's a shortcut to happiness that has a price.
What is the price? I see no price.
Your friends and those bloggers are the same kind of non-experts explaining complicated things as the guy who writes the editorials you just got done criticizing.
I'm not knocking your friends or your rss feed. Those are truly useful information sources that I use too but there's no substitute for real journalism. There's a lot of bullshit journalism out there but the good stuff isn't extinct yet. If everyone keeps being so jaded about the news then journalism as a profession is going to die and that's sad because we need those kinds of people in this world.
My true objection is the "new" in "news." I have absolutely no interest in current events that aren't directly affecting me. Paul Krugman and Nate Silver are smart people, but if I want to spend my time learning about economics or politics -- which I really am a little bit interested in -- I think it's absurd to read a Paul Krugman column telling me what last month's economic indicators seem to be saying, or to read Nate Silver's analysis of some DNC speeches.
So instead I listen to interviews with economists about work and analysis they've done over the past N years. I find history books that have been retrospectively written by important actors, and those which have stood the test of time. I'd rather hear what Paul Krugman has to say about 2012 in twenty years. That seems like an obviously better use of time than trying to keep up with reporting on current events, which by its nature is inaccurate, incomplete, and filled with ultimately unimportant details.
The only disadvantage is that I don't really have a lot of insight into what's going on in the world right this minute. But I don't understand why that insight is important. I care about learning true, interesting things, not just learning things.
What you said plays exactly into my original point about being a good consumer of news. Having the ability to filter relevant information from noise is what important and not taking in news for the sake of news. I've been saying this the entire time.
I can get on board with not caring about what's going on right this minute too and I never argued that anyone should. That's just as bad as Joel's prescription for ignoring news completely. That said, you never know when something you read may become relevant to you at a later time. I would suggest making it a point to consume news that isn't relevant to you in the same way I wouldn't suggest ignoring all news but I also would say that if you have a minute, reading some random piece of news every now and then may prove useful. And if it doesn't, well then you've got something you might be able to talk intelligently about at some party. It doesn't hurt and hey, maybe it'll even get you laid.
At the end of the day Joel's post came off to me as totally anti-intellectual, naive, and self-helpish (in a bad way). Like I said before, I'm a big fan of his posts but this one did not sit right with me.
HN readers, as a whole, are very focused on science, technology, and startup businesses; this focus produces incredible innovation and wealth, but at a very real cost to communities, family life, and other "olive trees" that make life worth living.
"Don’t read newspapers for the news (just for the gossip and, of course, profiles of authors). The best filter to know if the news matters is if you hear it in cafes, restaurants... or (again) parties." and
"If something is going on, I hear about it. I like to talk to people, I socialise. Television is a waste of time. Human contact is what matters."
Taleb is right: if it's important you'll hear about it from a friend or acquaintance.
Even if we assume that people spreading news on their own can all be trusted and reliable that still severely limits the news you can get. People who want to spread a certain message will make sure you hear about it but the real news is often something people will actively try to keep from becoming public. Without journalists working for media outlets we won't get that kind of news. Stories of corruption and scandal are easily hidden in the scenario you describe and the world ends up talking about stories that would show up in People magazine because the average person doesn't care about what's up in Lybia, they care about what's happening with the Real Housewives of Bullshit City USA.
Of course, democracies around the world are flawed, and being informed about the world will not necessarily lead to change, but being uninformed about the world will necessarily lead to change for the worse. Being a citizen of a democracy is about more than voting every few years. It's a full-time responsibility, and if you just take yourself out of it, you lose it.
This also means we are likely better off reading longer, meatier articles that provide context for what is happening. They are the ones that explain why we have the present problems and why all actors are behaving as they are.
Critical thinking is still required for this kind of information, but this information isn't really news. It's a sort of longform journalism that is a bit removed. But it is informative and doesn't leave the reader ignorance to current events.
As I wrote before, if you want to learn something pick up a good book.
(also, should we want to change the world? it's it better on its own??)
More so, do you think that what is short in the news are the most important problems, the real priorities?
It seems highly doubtful at best. Knowing may be half the battle, but if you can't action that knowledge it's useless.
Following the biased and agendized mainstream news machine is even worse. If you only hear one side ever every story, your sense of reality and judgment will be warped (this is brainwashing). You will be out of touch with reality more so than if you did not follow the news at all because you will be biased based on what you have always heard.
Well let's add to this then. What about time wasted sitting in synagogue or church saying the same prayers over and over again? To me that's even a bigger waste of time. What if people got together and actually learned something during that time (if together) or on their own. To me at least the sermons were always interesting (ymmv of course) but they were mainly filed under "entertainment" value.
That said there is a value to main stream news depending on what your business or product is. It is important to have the beat on what others are watching and thinking to me it does have value. Some people say "who cares what the WSJ or NYT thinks"? But the truth is others care and carry that info out to people and it's a good idea to know what others are going to believe and think. That doesn't mean that you have to watch mainstream everyday, but I wouldn't go as far as saying the right approach is to stop watching TV totally as Joel says he has done. Or reading mainstream news.
Reading already curated sources of info, preferably quite a few of them, coming from varied backgrounds, and doing a more focused research afterwards if it seems worth it, beats mainstream news most of the time.
And by curated, I mean low volume sources. My rule of thumb is that if an rss feed (which is where most of my news comes from) gets more than four or five updates a week, it's probably not worth it (or I subscribed to it because it's a type of noise that I like, but it's still noise).
Right now the local mayoral election has made me pay more attention to the local news and I almost always regret that additional noise, even though the local organization I use (The Voice of San Diego) is about as good at journalism as I've seen.
I tried to find some quotes from the book, but the best I could find was only this article: http://www.evomend.net/en/tim-ferriss-4-hour-workweek-3-5-le...
If you did not know Barack Obama was the president of the United States, would your life be affected?
For me, the answer is no. You?
So yeah, last time I saw a paper was 1991. Last time I saw a news TV thing was probably mid 90s as well, but I don't remember it since I have literally never seen a full news hour or however long it goes.
To keep signal to noise as high as possible, I've had to remove all regular news sources from the site (CNN, MSNBC...). They're time wasting, regurgitated junk adding little to no value to readers lives.
At the same time, I think ignoring mainstream news completely is not the solution, it's nice to know what the masses are consuming and it keeps you up on trends.
Conclusion? everything in moderation.
What would happen if we required someone like Warren Buffet to ignore the news?
What if he was prohibited from reading a single newspaper?
What would happen?
I know many people who read multiple newspapers every day, without fail. If they were not allowed access to the news, I think their ability to function in their chosen profession would be severely impacted.
From my experience in newsrooms, stories that are primarily emotional are dealt with by Journalists nearly exclusively, they require strong story telling and usually invasive interviewing and exposure.
Stories from data tend to be collected by outside interests and presented to newspapers. Journalists can then spin stories from the data, or if they are writing for a financial publication typically highlight the most salient points for consumption. Occasionally, and far more infrequently than in the past, the media institution will collect a survey themselves or crunch the numbers, and this is almost always pseudo-scientific.
Ultimately journalists rarely improve this data other than to make it more gossip worthy. There is a huge amount of data presented every day, from pr firms, from foundations and from public bodies, and all of it wants to be read.
Warren Buffet might prefer to read it in the New York Times, but with a strong and deep twitter feed almost anyone can now be as informed as the average news room (there are exceptions to this, on the other hand, reading those same newspapers cover to cover is also a good way to fill your head with soporific twaddle)
While I don't agree with the original article, as I think many publications offer some well reasoned analysis and challenging opinions, social media is more than enough to stay as well informed as anyone, though it remains more difficult to navigate.
On the other hand, imagine if Warren Buffet were only allowed to get his information from cable news. That would be frightening.
I think that's missing the point a bit. The OP was pointing out that there is an opportunity cost of consuming the news. For the OP, the return on his time investment was not worth it. But for someone like Warren Buffet, it obviously would be.
I'm simply pointing out that for some people the news is very valuable to what they do. As you say, for the OP it might not have as much value. It depends on what you're trying to do.
I think a more interesting title would be: "The power of being able to think for yourself". For example, it's possible to be able to read the news, when it is overwhelmingly negative or even low quality news (e.g. it doesn't tell you anything you don't already know), and still derive something positive from it. And there are many examples that prove this: businesspeople who read heaps of news and still manage to accomplish quite a lot, at least in the opinion of their peers.
You may stop reading the news. But most everyone else is still reading it. And to the extent your business is concerned with some segment of that group I refer to as "everyone else", the news is a factor to consider.
Hope that's a little more clear.
pg's essay on PR as it relates to startups is a decent intro into how the news can be important for hackers.
Being aware of what constitutes propaganda/pr allows me to watch some mainstream films and TV shows while not being as brain-washed as someone who watched them 'to relax'/unfiltered. Being a person who likes to think and analyze, I can relax/rest when I sleep.
From "Silence is Golden" by Aldous Huxley
Could not agree with the author more. Only pay attention to "the news" if you spend the necessary time online researching and finding out each real/complete story (facts and both sides of the story). Otherwise how can you not help being persuaded and shaped by the mainstream media?