Note: More to Life with Faith and Lois is designed to be heard, not read. We hope you’ll listen to the audio, which includes emotion and emphasis that won’t be on this page. Our transcripts are generated with speech recognition software and may contain errors. 

 

Lois                        

Welcome to the podcast, More to Life with Faith and Lois.

Faith                   

I’m Faith

Lois                          

And I’m Lois.

Faith                      

Our podcast explores life’s many transitions that inspire and daunt us.

Lois                       

Good morning and hello to you, Faith.

Faith

Well, good morning and hello to you Lois. We’re back together again.

Lois                         

We are and it seems like we’re taking transition to a new level every week. You know, last week our conversation about routine was really invigorating because there were some things I had to look at that I could take away from my schedule and others that I could add in. And that was kind of fun to observe.

Faith                    

So what’d you do?

Lois                        

Well, I decided to add in something we talked about a few weeks ago and that is this time of sitting quietly. It’s not something I do well and so I’ve really had to practice, but I’ve found that if I put a timer on at the other side of the room that I can watch the clock. And even if the first few days, the way I did it was I was just counting because I just couldn’t, I wasn’t comfortable enough. Now I’ll get to the end and I’ll realize, oh, it’s over – five minutes is over. So at what a change has happened in the last week of just saying, if I add this and sit quietly, what will come?

Faith                     

That’s really good for me. I’ve taken something out, I am turning the TV off more and I’m getting more quiet or I’m going and sitting outside or doing some journaling and more reflecting and it’s changing a lot. There’s a lot of more peace, more centeredness. I like it.

Lois                       

That is beautiful. And you know, just a spoiler alert. That’s what we’re going to be talking about today. But Oh, how exciting. I can’t wait to hear more. So we would love to hear what y’all think about our podcast and we hope that you’re willing to share them with someone you can give your podcast app. Did you know that? And just say look for More to Life with Faith and Lois, it’ll come right up for you. And for the latest information, just go to our website, www.moretolifewithfaithandlois.com and you can even sign up for our weekly newsletter. So as we explore more and more transitions, we arrived today at Episode 89 Transition: the Impact of News Media.

Faith                     

Oh boy. I know this is a biggie. This is a baby because wow, it’s heavy on a lot of people right now and you hear a lot about it on social media or in conversations and it’s taken a toll on people.

Lois                       

It really is. And we want it let you know that this podcast isn’t about what to read or what to listen to or what to watch. It’s really about how media has transitioned to have such enormous power and how we respond to it. So news media, how does it impact you?

Faith                   

Well, it’s so emotional and it’s meant to, I mean everything that they put up or we hear on the radio or we see on TV is to hook you into what you feel emotionally and then you can’t let go and you want to know the next piece and that next piece of information. I think there’s more hooks than I’ve ever seen in news media. You and I were, were chatting with the fact that a breaking news used to be breaking news for a one time, big deal and everybody you would immediately turn it on. But it’s breaking news every five minutes now, which is a hook. It’s an old hook and we have to be more discerning and figure out more about what do we really need to hear and how do we really adapt and live our lives around the news media instead of the news media becoming our central focus.

Lois                       

Oh my goodness, that is such a perfect way. We could end right now, but then you would need 15 more minutes to listen to on your walks so we won’t. That is brilliant! Because that’s really the key. What is the focus of our lives? You know, I grew up telling stories and I had no idea that getting this gift from my mother of telling stories would translate into a career in journalism. But I love doing it. I love telling stories, not making them up, but telling stories because I was good at putting a beginning, a middle and an end to live journalism. And so whether I was reporting or anchoring, I felt like that’s what I was bringing to the story of the day, what was going on, not telling you how to think about it, just letting you know what was happening. And in the last few years since I’ve been out of daily broadcasting, it’s been interesting to see the shift that’s happened and the slant that’s taken part on all spectrums of the news. And I think that for me has been the most disheartening because I look back on my career with amazing fondness. I got to see so much, I learned so much and people are my passion to this day and it’s a result of being in news. But the battle lines, it seems like have been really set very strongly in news media and I don’t feel that a story gets to stand on its own anymore. Unfortunately. It has to be painted in one way or the other. And so that’s kind of what’s brought us to what we want to focus on today when we have Episode 89 Transition: The impact of News Media because Faith, it’s a little jarring. But if you Google why I stopped watching the news, you’re going to be floored because for me there’s a point I have to return just because of my background. I’m a news junkie, I’ll be honest, but I’m a different kind of news junkie today than I was 10 years ago and it’s because of what you said before where it just slammed into my life and I couldn’t get away from it. So now I have to find more ways to have my boundaries on what news I will allow into my life.

Faith                    

You’re in charge. Yes. It makes a difference. Yes. It’s like, and it’s, you have to come to that decision who’s going to be in charge of what I put into my mind and what I put into my subconscious that I’m going to be thinking on and reflecting on all day.

Lois                      

So in addition to what Faith and I think which of course is really important, we’re going to share with you with what some people have done as they have hit the wall when it comes to the news media. Just like many of us have, you know, and we all hit it in different places by the way. And if you’re on vacation, of course you’re going to take a break from it. But what are you going to do in regular life? Because right now it’s changed. When faith and I do these podcasts, we put our phones out of sight, out of mind in another room because of the alerts that come through that let us know what’s happening. We almost can’t escape it anymore if you have a smart phone, unless you physically go in and turn off those alerts. So there’s a really fun article in Medium by Nick Maccarone, it’s from last year, and it’s entitled:This is what happens when you stop watching the news. Now he has his great story because he talked about how he would devour the news and he was proud of himself by the way. You know, he’d get up. That’s the first thing he did. He would check the updates and it was the last thing he did before he went to bed. But he does write and Faith you’ll appreciate this. He said, it took me years to appreciate the impact this day, luge of negative information was having on my psyche.

Faith                   

And that does because those are the influencers. And we have to begin to discern and sift our life a little bit. Like who influences my life? What are the voices that are being spoken into my life? So there’s a difference between gathering information that is in the news and letting it influence you and how you see or react in life afterwards.

Lois                      

Maccarone was pointing out that it made him so much more fearful. It made him fearful about his community, about his state, about the world, the country in which we live. And it made him fearful for his kids. So he was watching things and became hyper vigilant for things that didn’t have to be because he had heard something or listened to something or watch something. So he took a detox. He did a news detox for an entire year, and he says, the difference is now I put my energy toward issues that I can influence, which I’ve discovered starts with the quality of my presence in the world.

Faith                   

That is so good is that it’s so good.

Lois                        

So he’s come back, but he had to step back for a while.

Faith                    

Exactly. And so he’s more in charge and he’s making the decision about who he is and how he wants to live his life and how he wants to be an influencer rather than being influenced.

Lois                      

Yes, and this kind of dovetails when we talked about self-awareness a few weeks ago. If we are on autopilot and we just let all of these things, you know, come into our lives versus us saying, hold on, I have these boundaries or barriers, we’re going to get stuck in a very, very weird place.

Faith                    

That’s so true.

Lois                      

Another example that you can find on youtube, look for a man named Nathan, Nathaniel Drew. He’s got a video, it’s six minutes long and it says: Here’s why I stopped watching the news. And his is really fascinating. He’s a younger man and it’s interesting where he got to this position and he was starting to question who is making the editorial decisions for the stories that he would read if he had been in a country or a community. And he knew what was going on, he would then watch the news and say, well, that’s not what happened today when I was in this very large city. And he was wondering who was letting him know what was going on versus what he had observed. So he took a diet as well and he removed all access to news on his phone, his computer and his television. And he said that freed up a lot of energy about getting his life together.

Faith                 

That’s really interesting. And so he really had to take that strong negative influencer out because he saw a different truth and a reality and it wasn’t fitting with the reality that he was being told. Yes. Wow.

Lois                       

And I think when you watch this, you, you will sit there because he’s not slamming one side or the other. It’s just, it’s like, oh, that’s right. You know, and if, and if I was just in a community and they’re, they’re telling me a scary story about something that happened at the lake that I was visiting and I was there for three days and never saw one instance of that, I would say, well, wait a second, I was there and no one talked about this. No one saw it. But there’d been one incident and they blew it up. And they scare people away from coming to a certain area. Now, having been in the news media, my, my goal was always to inform, but we do know that sensationalism plays its part in a lot of newscasts. If it bleeds, it leads. I mean, that’s been a horrible joke that people have said for years. But sadly that is become more and more true.

Faith                

I know. And I wish we could shift that because there’s a heart of our soul that is missing because there’s so much more goodness that is going on as well. And so if you’re inundated with just the negatives or the scary or the threats, then we start living from that place.

Lois                        

And you know, in total fairness, I think a lot of local news outlets have really worked to counter this. And so some of the cable networks that are just on the, you know, wall to wall coverage for whatever is happening that day versus a big news story. I do feel that local news is trying in so many ways to say we want to cover what’s really important to this community. And yet I think the idea of us making that choice of when we want to see this and our having the control that you mentioned before, Faith, it’s right is really important.

Faith                   

It’s very important.

Lois                          

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Faith                      

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Lois                       

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Faith

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Lois                         

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Faith                    

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Lois                        

Well, speaking of addiction, Martin Schirp writes a compelling piece: Why avoiding the news makes you smarter. And it’s on, it’s on the website High Existence.

Faith                     

Well that’s good. Let’s get smarter.

Lois                       

He actually said that sometime ago. He stopped reading and watching the news because sometimes when watching or reading the news, he felt himself anticipating another big event. Well, yeah, yeah. Had to get, has to get bigger, has to get bigger. And you know, you think about that when you’re reading a story and you get into it and you go, oh, this is not going to go well. I know it’s not. And it’s not even informing me. It’s almost, well it’s gossip. It’s, you know, you’re interested in the lives of somebody that will never affect you and then you want more and more. So you start living a life that isn’t your own.

Faith                     

Yes. And that’s again, that’s such a shadowy influencer that comes in and takes you away from things that might be truly much more important for your life. And I think that’s the discerning point. How is it impacting you and is it absorbing your thinking and your feelings and your reactions in life to the point where you’re not really truly being yourself to live out with those around you.

Lois                       

Oh, that is such a good barometer to have. And he said he started asking himself a question when he looked at any story. What relevance does this information bear? Excuse me, to my day to day functioning. And if it doesn’t help, it’s hindering. That’s to your point. Exactly. Can you look at these stories and weigh them as to how they’re going to help you function or not?

Faith                   

Can you disengage from it? Can you listen to the information, have an initial response, and then go, okay, I need to move on into my day. Or are you taking that with you? And it kind of as turmoil took kind of tumultuous inside where it just tumbles inside of your head, inside of your heart all day long. If that’s happening, then that has too strong influence over you.

Lois                       

You know, I wonder, and I had never thought about this prior to us deciding to bring this up as a topic, whether I would make a decision to ingest news at certain times of the day and only then so that I could take charge again. And that’s a very different way to look at it. Many of us don’t ever want to completely detach for a variety of reasons and you don’t have to. We’re not telling anybody to detach. And some people will say, I’m going to let it go for x amount of time. That’s great too. But how do you decide when to reengage and how to reengage?

Faith                    

Exactly. Again, I think it’s really laying out very clearly what is my day, what is important to me? The news media is meant to hook you to keep you there from morning till night if they could, and sometimes that can happen, especially in a crisis situation. We think there’s going to be more information, more information, but the reality is there’s always a summary. Every few hours there’s a total summary and if there’s a report, that report is shown. It’s like we really don’t miss out, but I think the hook is we might miss out.

Lois                      

And we don’t want to be without it. In fact, that’s what’s happened on social media for so much. Part of our response to everything is that we know as much as the other person does. That part is, we know as much as we’ve been told by this group. Right. And then we’re just, you know, espousing that. So if there’s a diet that I could take a rather than food, it is one of wanting to curb my media ingestation and taking it maybe in small snippets. Maybe it is after I’m finally showered and clean before I start my full day, so I get a little bit in the morning so I know what’s happened and especially when it comes to a community or if you’re traveling to a region and there are things you need to know by all means stay informed. But then to take a diet of it for most of the day and then to revisit at a certain time, but not right before I go to bed.

Faith                   

Yes, exactly. I found that that is just too difficult and doesn’t work. I made a rule a long time ago that the last thing I watch is something that has comedy in it. I am insistent upon it, whether it’s just a an old 50s or 60s or 70s show that I’ll find on TV. I need to laugh. I need to have something that shifts the day. I do not need to have a news report. The last thing that I take to bed with me.

Lois                      

So we encourage you as you look at the impact of news media to do a deep dive in a sense and say, where does it hit me? Do I just move through and it doesn’t bother me? Then you’re great. Keep going. Do whatever you need to do. For those of you who, like us, get our psyche wounded by some of these stories, at least assess what it is and how much you’re taking in every day and maybe think about this really great quote from Gwendolyn Brooks who writes, one reason that cats are happier than people is that they have no newspapers.

Faith                   

That’s excellent. That’s a really good one. So that’s excellent.

Lois                        

We’re all about exploring and we hope we haven’t encouraged you to do one thing or another today, but to leave your mind open to how is the news media impacting you and if there is something you would like to avoid or participate in, if you’ve been on the sidelines, it’s really up to you. Be in charge, be in charge. Awesome.

Faith                    

The amount of information we consume on a daily basis has over the top. What would happen if we pause to consider what it’s doing to our minds.

Lois                      

If you can remove yourself from the constant barrage and consume information when you choose, you might find a reasonable middle ground.

Faith                    

Please share this podcast with someone who’s overwhelmed with news media for a fresh perspective.

Lois                      

And join us next week for Transition: the Impact of Seasonal Disorder.

Faith                  

Get the latest news on our social media platforms and on our website, and please subscribe.

Lois                       

More to Life with Faith and Lois is a podcast to support, encourage and uplift you.

Faith                  

As you transition through all sorts of change, we want you to know there is more to life.

Lois                       

We’ll be back next week.