Norton: Are your news sources overwhelming you? (column)
It would probably be easy to read a little bias into today’s column since I am a writer here, so please don’t judge too harshly.
With more than 1 billion users, and in some reports showing the numbers are getting close to 2 billion people using social media, it is easy to see how some might confuse facts, share opinions and possibly mislead others or become misled themselves.
There are also other studies that show where people get their news, including TV, online, the radio and print newspapers. I read one report that said 62 percent of adults get their news through social media and another report that said 81 percent consume the news online. Of course, I got that data online, so maybe it’s accurate, and then again, maybe it’s not.
Discerning fact from fiction
Social media and online news sources certainly have their value if we can discern what is fact and what is opinion and what is completely wrong or false. With so much happening in the world and so many opinions from the far left, the far right, the left, the right and all of the people right down the middle, it really does become difficult to choose what we want to focus on or pay attention to.
Now our community is so incredible, we always seem to rally and come together and become bound by the collective efforts we make to the national and international situations and crises whenever they happen.
So let me share with you what I am doing for the next few months. Without sounding like I am sticking my head in the sand like an ostrich, or caring about what is happening in our nation or the world, I am focusing on my local reality. Our local community newspapers are filled with great information, and that is where I want to spend my time. Inside these papers are great articles loaded with relevant information that lets us know what is happening here, nationally and around the world.
More importantly, our local community newspapers are sponsored by the awesome local businesses and merchants who make our communities thrive. If we want a dose of local reality, then simply get out and about, away from our computers and smart phones and visit some of the businesses who make this paper possible, talk to the merchants and shop keepers, restaurant owners, bartenders and the customers who all shape our community.
No doubt that there will be plenty of opinions there, too, but we can also find out what is going on in our own backyard, meet some great people, do some shopping, have a great meal, a hot coffee or cold drink and have some fun along the way.
I have read these papers for years. I have seen many of the same columnists writing in the paper for years, too. And I have seen many of the same businesses continuing to support the paper each year. The publishers and editing staff are amazing. They all deserve a big shout out for their contributions to making our communities better. Now you may say the sponsors are doing it simply for marketing purposes, but I can tell you that I have met many of the people who advertise in the paper, and although it is a business decision, many of them do it to support us, the community and keep our local news alive.
So, how about you? Are your news sources overwhelming you? If so, then maybe you can join me in shutting down the noise for a little while and focusing our attention right here at home. I would love to hear all about your stories and your favorite parts of the local news at firstname.lastname@example.org. And when we can get a little dose of local reality, it really will be a better than good week.
Michael Norton is a former resident of Edwards, the past president of the Zig Ziglar Corp., strategic consultant and business and personal coach.