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How to Keep up with the News Without Getting Distracted

I am not exactly a news junky.

When it comes to world events, I have the tendency to fall into the “ignorance is bliss” camp. But I also recognize that I need to be informed in order to offer biblical responses to current events. It’s just that the thought of slogging through dozens of news sites a day sounds to me like medieval torture. But I think I’ve developed a decent strategy for walking that line between being informed and staying focused.

In this age of information overload, attention is valuable. And there are few things as potentially exhausting and time-wasting as trying to stay abreast of the news tidal wave. With the internet and traditional sources becoming more biased and agenda-driven than ever, the days of comparing 2 or 3 newspapers and hoping to get an idea of the whole picture are long gone.

I have heard some Christians say they have completely given up on keeping up with the news. I understand the reaction. It can be emotionally draining and tempt us to anxious thoughts—especially these days. but it is important that followers of Jesus Christ don’t bury their heads in the sand. Thankfully, there are ways to stay informed without getting sucked into the news cycle vortex.

Accept that You’ll Never Get the Whole Story

I think the exhaustion of keeping up with the news comes from having to filter through so many different information sources to understand a situation. But some people will tell you that’s a necessary part of being a responsible citizen. I don’t disagree with the thought process, I just think the goal is impossible in practice.

First, I cannot get an objective presentation of the story no matter how hard I look. That’s not cynicism, it’s just part of being mortal. True objectivity is a function of omniscience which belongs to God alone. All news reporting is agenda-driven, lacks some facts, and fails to report the whole story. News, after all, is primarily an entertainment medium designed to sell ads. If I were a cynic, I would move that we rename the “news” to “slightly more consequential gossip.” But that’s another story…All I’m saying is that it is naive to think that it is possible to obtain an objective perspective by reading “all sides of the story.”

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Find a Trusted Aggregator

Second, if we know we can’t get the whole story we can at least keep an eye on what is going on. The best way I’ve found to do this is by extending my trust to a few news aggregators.

Just as we have people in our lives who we trust to give us the skinny on a situation, if you can find a couple of selective aggregators who can serve as pre-filters for your news, you will be able to stay abreast of current events without drowning in digital noise.

Let me suggest two sources:

The Briefing by Al Mohler

Al Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has a short daily podcast each weekday where he presents “news and events from a Christian worldview.” In each episode of The Briefing, Dr. Mohler gives an overview of just a handful of issues being covered by the news media and then offers his take on a Christian response to them.

When I had a commute, I would listen to this every day on my way to work. Now, I’ll often listen over breakfast or in the afternoon while doing something else. Not only does this program keep me informed, but Dr. Mohler’s commentary on the news is a helpful study in applying a Christian worldview to current events.

Disrn News

My other go-to aggregator is Disrn News. Adam Ford, creator of the satirical news website the Babylon Bee, unironically manages this real news site.

What I like about Disrn is its brief, just-the-facts-ma’am approach to reporting. I also appreciate that they report on stories that Christians would care about even if none of the major news outlets are covering them.

And as far as trust goes, Adam is a real-life friend of mine and we tend to think the same way on issues. So, I am happy to let him and his team do the hard work of sifting through the news and letting them present what they think will be most relevant to me.

If you aren’t already following Disrn, I would commend them to you.

Conclusion

A sure-fire way to kill your productivity is to become addicted to news. If you fall down the “what’s happening now” rabbit hole on Twitter, Facebook, CNN, FOX, or whatever, you will have time and emotional energy for little else in life. We have jobs to do and a Lord to serve in our own corner of the globe. So let’s try and keep up with the news, but not become consumed with the gossip.

Slave of Jesus Christ, husband, father, and Director of Digital Platforms at Grace to You. I also blog for The Master's Seminary.

Join the discussion

5 comments
  • I am really enjoying the themedesign of your blog. Do you ever run into any browser compatibility problems? A handful of my blog readers have complained about my website not operating correctly in Explorer but looks great in Chrome. Do you have any advice to help fix this issue?

  • Those are the exact same sources I get my news from! And I found out about your site from the Adam Ford newsletter actually.

  • The most trustworthy and professional Christian news organization is WORLD News Group. They are currently expanding their channels of information to cover print, digital, audio, and now even video for young people.

  • My favorite news source is WORLD: world.wng.org. They work towards “Biblically-objective journalism.” I commend them to anyone. I also love The Briefing. Incidentally, Mohler is in World’s board.

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