If we could leave you with just one piece of advice through our podcast and blog it’s this:
Ask questions. Lots of questions. All the time.
We mean that in a very practical, down-to-earth, non-paranoid sense. Be skeptical not cynical. We want you to question political leaders, businesses and the media. We want you to leave no one out.
More important, we want you to question yourselves. Throw away the easy labels like, “Oh, this is liberal,” or “This is conservative.” Instead start out with, What’s the article about? Who wrote it? What can I learn from reading it? and so forth. You’ll learn WAY more with that mindset rather than presuming you already know what it’s going to say (why even bother to take the time reading it?).
Reading the news is a little like working with a business partner with the writer or publication being your partner-of-the-moment. You should not expect to agree or disagree with everything you read. There’s an old expression that, “If you have partner and the two of you agree on everything then one of you is unnecessary.” Be necessary.
Also question how, where and why you, your friends, families, neighbors, co-workers and the proverbial person-on-the street stay informed about the world around us. Question what you don’t know. Question what you do know and what you think you know.
We’ll start with a few questions for ourselves.
1) Why are we doing this?
The short answer: Because it’s important.
The long answer: Over the course of our careers in and around the news business, we’ve witnessed lots of changes in how people consume information. But those prior changes are tweaks compared to the huge shifts we’re experiencing today. The current changes are shaking the foundations of journalism, democracy and even society.
2) Don’t people already have everything they need to be smart consumers of info?
The short answer: Yes. No.
The long answer: The good news is that we have instantaneous access to information about nearly everything from world-changing news to what some celebrity was wearing yesterday. The bad news is that we are now required to be our own news editors and decide what deserves our time and attention and more importantly, why. It’s hard work and it’s constantly getting harder. Something like a user manual sure would come in handy.
3) What makes you guys think you have a solution?
The short answer: Nothing, because we don’t. Nobody does. Everybody’s figuring it out as they go along.
The long answer: We neither profess nor pretend to know the “right” way. But we can offer insight into how news and information moves around. You could think of it as helping you be informed about how to be informed.
We hope to give you some tips and perspectives to help you (and us!) navigate our way through these uncharted oceans of information on which we’re all sailing everyday.