my news habits are getting worse

(National Airport) After a day with colleagues at the American Press Institute, I am reflecting on changes in my own habits of news consumption. A decade ago, I used to read almost the whole of the New York Times every day. That gave me one institutional perspective on the world–and I spent more time than I should have on ephemera. On the bright side, I daily explored a wide range of topics, from obituaries to human-interest stories, from tech to the arts. I still subscribe to the Times, but I find my attention span much shorter online; the temptation is always to click on something different. I tend to focus on a few developing stories–lately, the Israeli election, the temporary absence of Putin, and the congressional budget process–and obsessively read lots of largely repetitive news and opinion. I think sometimes I am just looking for a more positive angle on the same troubling story. I am not sure whether the total amount of time I spend/waste on daily news is more or less than it was in 2005, but I am pretty sure the total amount of daily learning is lower.

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About Peter

Associate Dean for Research and the Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Tufts University's Tisch College of Civic Life. Concerned about civic education, civic engagement, and democratic reform in the United States and elsewhere.