Ask LH: How Can I Avoid Being Overwhelmed With News?

Hey Lifehacker, I like reading my news using Feedly (not that Google Reader is RIP). For Australian headlines I have tried a number of news sites but find that they repeat articles and flood too many at me. The result is that I don’t read the articles and I eventually unsubscribe. If I was only getting twenty or so headlines a day I would stay subscribed and know more than nothing about current affairs. Do you have any suggestions for me? Thanks, News Newbie

Dear NN,

It’s a tricky one to balance, especially in the era of a 24-hour news cycle. There’s the obvious catch that it’s a Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) issue as well, something we’ve covered in a previous Ask Lifehacker column.

Having said that, overcoming FOMO is going to be key here, for two very simple reasons.

Firstly, it’s a relatively rare Australian pure news outlet that publishes fewer than 20 headlines in a day across the entire masthead. There’s far more news than that within a day.

That highlights the other issue with only seeing 20 or so headlines in a given day. What happens on a busy news day? You’re going to give yourself a very limited world view if you’ve got a hard and fast rule on how much news you’ll read in a day, and that’s not a good thing.

So what should you do? There are a few key tricks you could engage to make the news cycle seem less overwhelming that don’t involve wholesale unsubscription from valuable news sources.

Firstly, if you’re only interested in a single subsection of a news site, check if it has its own RSS feed, and subscribe to only that part. After all, if you only care about sports but don’t need the finance section, that’s just clutter.

Next, remember that you don’t actually have to read absolutely everything. Most readers will allow you to star headlines of importance so you can come back to them later, and you can use this to quickly build your own news feed. Flag the news that you reckon will actually be important to you, and ignore the rest, but not with a hard “20 articles” limit.


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