When it comes to catching up with the news, I have become increasingly lazy. In the UK we all pay for the BBC to exist, and along with that funding comes a number of rules – one of them being that their news reporting is unbiased. Therefore if I want to know what’s going on in the world, I head to the BBC news homepage, and rarely venture anywhere else.
I have been looking at all the apps I’ve had installed on my phone, or websites bookmarked in my browser, to see if I can change my habits somewhat. It’s kind of a nightmare though – there’s Flipboard, Feedly, Pocket, Reddit… all working differently than each other, and all giving you the option of pre-filtering the firehose of content to subjects you are interested in.
A part of me says “just bookmark the big newspapers around the world, and visit them in turn”, but I know my own laziness will result in just visiting one of them. There’s also the hell that any news platform based in the US suffers from – where an avalanche of advertising, pay-walls, pop-ups and pre-roll videos assault you before letting you anywhere near the news. Invariably I click on an interesting looking story, see the pre-roll ads appear, and instantly walk for the door.
One of the big advantages Flipboard and Pocket have is a sanitised view of article content – they re-render it without any of the rubbish if they can – so you can just read the words. Of course this isn’t always possible, because the source has told them “don’t you dare remove our idiotic pre-loaded advertising”, so you get redirected before you can shout “hell no!”.
I also have this cynical, paranoid aversion to investing in anything on the internet, because it may not be there in a couple of years time – either that, or it will change out of all recognition, taking away all the features you liked, and adding a load of crap (and advertising) you were not interested in.
Maybe I should just stop reading the news. Maybe that would solve it.