Recently I found I’m addicted on reading news, including gadget news, social headlines and hacker news. Today, I’m thinking why I read so much news? What’s the value of reading news?
The news include content and context, but there are more things underneath. When we read news, we got a story of what just happend, but this is not very valuable. The content and context is history journal, we just put some sentence and images into our memory. This is no difference with a comupter, and computer is good at recording things, it never changes or forgets. We are human, we have non-linear thinking machine, which give us some outputs after thinking. I think there are 3 main elements for human, thinking, feeling and memory, reading news just give us some outputs of memory and feeling, those things construct a timeline in our brain. And when we have spare time, the brain thinks in right mode, and it may give us idea at anytime. Acctually, the most value part is making a point of view, so we determine which part we should stand for this piece of news. This judgement can be irational, I means the reason and the result may has no direct connection, we just jump to a conclution. I think we can call it taste. And I remember this quote “The only thing you can trust is your taste”. This irational process of making judgement is our taste.
We should split news into two categories. One is a report of a story, it tells us what just happend, like a statement, we just recieve it and store. Another is a comment of something, so there will be some personal judgement or ideas come from reviewer. They already stand on a side of this story, and we will recieve this comments and record the direct feeling of there comment. For example, the techmeme always tell us the breaking headline of different news source, but most of which is plain story. The other example is hacker news, it contains lots of blog post about someone’s opinion, those report is more like sharing taste of those things. I prefer the deep analysis of news, like hacker news’ style. They put non-linear reason and result together, help us organizing out thoughts in reviewer’s points of view. This thinking practice helps us make our own taste.
If we only store news, it’s a huge waste. I we just day dreaming, it’s useless too. Reading some news, and corresponding analysis is good for us. This may be the real value of reading news.
Don’t waste too much time on reading news, most of them are fast food. You should do long reads too, long articles are more nutritious. Magazines are way between long reads and online fragment reading, whe should balance the ratio of them. Keep processing langurages and images in our memory is important, it’s your privilege, it helps you find your real taste.