The Read the News Challenge

While taking a break from social media, I suddenly had a lot more free time on my hands (an embarrassingly large amount). I needed to fill it with something and so I decided that I would read the news every day. This quickly became an engrossing and enlightening activity—amazing, perplexing, horrifying, beautiful, and important things happen every day!

I used Apple’s news app, which helps me curate the articles that appear in my feed every day (kind of like a Pandora station for news). I especially love the New York Time’s Morning and Evening Briefings, in which they summarize and catalogue what they think are the most important events of the past twelve hours.

Here’s why I think I started to like the news so much—I used to find the news overwhelming and depressing, so I almost never read it. Most of what I found out about current events was from Twitter and Facebook (seriously). Because of this, I felt terribly uninformed about everything from politics to race issues in America to the crisis in the Middle East. Being uninformed left me feeling confused and anxious whenever I did come face-to-face with an issue, whether in conversation with friends or from a random article posted on social media.

But once I was reading the news, I could piece different bits of information together, getting a broader view of issues, reading different perspectives. Even though I usually read for only a few minutes every morning and at night, those minutes added up until I started to know so much more about my world than before. And that started to get me excited. I wanted to know more. I started reading more news. I felt connected and informed, and suddenly I had my own perspective that wasn’t fearful or confused.

Anyway, it was a great experience for me, so I wanted to make the challenge this month The Read the News Challenge. Spend five minutes reading the news every day until the end of the month. That’s it! Here are some articles I found especially interesting or enlightening ::

Fractured Lands: How the Arab World Came Apart by Scott Anderson, Photos by Paolo Pellegrin

This article will blow your mind. It’s super long (much more the size of a short book), because it presents an epic view of the Middle East—the history, the people, and why things are the way they are today. It reads much more like a book, too, one of those page turners like Unbroken or The Boys in the Boat that you can’t put down because you just keep thinking, “This is real life???” Honestly, I started it because I wanted to feel less afraid about ISIS and terrorism and the Syrian crisis, but after coming to understand the history and the issues that the people and countries face, I’m actually much more concerned than ever. This is a must read for everyone.

The Horror of the Baltimore Police Department by David A. Graham

In April 2015, Freddie Gray was arrested by Baltimore police officers and placed in a police van for transport to a police station for processing. When the van arrived at the station, Gray was in a coma with a broken neck. When, during trial, all officers associated with the case were found not guilty (or had their charges dropped), the mayor of Baltimore asked the federal government to step in. Last month, the Justice Department released a 163-page report of their investigation into the Baltimore Police Department. The findings are sickening and nearly unbelievable. Reading this article, which takes you through the findings of the report, will help you understand a little better what it means to be a minority in America.

The Ryan Lochte scandal

Reading this story as it unfolded during the days of the Olympics was deliciously scandalous and at times, mystifying. Ryan Lochte was robbed at gunpoint!!! Wait, he still has the items he claimed were stolen? But why would he lie and say he was robbed? Rio’s police department is denying his claims? The U.S. Olympic committee is making him apologize? What the heck is happening?

Anyway, do you read the news? Watch the news? If so, why? If not, why not? Also, if not, take the challenge and then let’s talk!

P.S. Here’s some inspiration for you. :)

(The painting “Morning News” by Helen Hoffman via Reading and Art)

Posted by Aanna on Friday, September 2nd, 2016

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