The most recent issue of Oliver Burkeman’s excellent newsletter The Imperfectionist focuses on “becoming news-resilient” – finding ways to stay properly informed while avoiding doomscrolling and other forms of obsessive behavior. For what it’s worth, here’s what I do:
- Most important: I avoid social media altogether.
- I always have plenty to read because of all the cool sites I subscribe to via RSS, but not one of those sites covers the news.
- I get most of my news from The Economist, which I read when it arrives on my doorstep each week.
- In times of stress, such as the current moment, I start the day by reading The Economist’s daily briefing.
And that’s it. I don’t need any more news, and I don’t want anyone’s opinions about what’s happening.
Back to RSS, which I have praised many times before: It’s so dramatically better than any other way of reading the internet I cannot understand why it has always remained a niche phenomenon. If you use Apple devices, you can get an excellent RSS experience, on Mac and iOS alike, for free with NetNewsWire — which, twenty years ago, was the app that got me into RSS. NetNewsWire got lost in the wilderness for a while, and while it was away I started using Feedbin as an all-platform RSS service and Reeder as my desktop client, so for now anyway I’m sticking with those. But NetNewsWire does all you need.
One more little tip: both NetNewsWire and Feedbin allow you to subscribe to Twitter accounts as RSS feeds, which means I can keep up with some of my friends while never having to engage directly with the hellsite. Also, there are a few worthy sites on the web that for some unaccountable reason don’t provide an RSS feed, but those sites always have a Twitter presence, so I can still use my RSS client to read their stuff. Highly recommended.