The 2017 News Block-Out

Juan Munevar

Panther ID: 5047582

The 48 hour news block-out, for me, was much easier than I assumed it would be, considering that I’m an avid news consumer. I listen to two weekly NPR podcasts that highlight politics, I’m always tuned to the local NPR radio station on my commutes from school, I have CNN news alerts programed on my phone when big stories hit and I read the New York Times maybe twice a week. Needless to say [comma] the block-out would be extremely jarring from my normal routine and I was interested to see its effects.

Now, I decided the first day of the block-out would be Sunday. To my surprise this was not hard at all. In retrospect certain circumstances helped facilitate the disconnect. Like the fact that Sunday was my dad’s birthday. This made it much easier to distract myself from my phone, podcasts, and general social media as the whole day was planned around spending time with my family and didn’t permit much phone use. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph] The fact that I conducted the disconnect on a Sunday was also incredibly fortunate as I usually pay more attention to the news during the weekdays, especially on my commutes to FIU. My weekend routine rarely includes podcast tune-ins, and I also have some entertaining storytelling podcasts that I relied on to avoid the news ones. [How do these experiences relate to the points that Deresiewicz raises in his essay?] 

Now, we move on to Monday. Monday was a little more difficult as I always listen to my political podcasts in the morning when I get ready. I fought the urge, which was pretty easy, and then I began my day by cleaning the house. I avoided reading all CNN alerts, again this was pretty easy. By 4:30 p.m. I had to go to work, so no podcasts or radio were listened to during 5 to 11 pm. In fact, due to how busy I was, the temptations were barely present. I came home from work at around 11 and went straight to bed. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph] This made me realize that I rely mostly on news usually when I’m alone or when I’m doing a monotonous task that requires little attention, but even then it wasn’t difficult to just listen to music or a story-telling podcast.

To acknowledge the reading on isolation: I have always realized the virtues of being alone. In fact, I embrace solitude as it is a chance to introspect the current state of the mind and body. I do a lot of thinking and that’s usually when I’m alone and I’m not afraid of it. Commuting can do that to you. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph] In general, I have always been a very introverted person and find myself most productive when alone. Don’t get me wrong, I’m surrounded by people I love and enjoy spending time with them, but I’m not a heavy social media user and I usually hate being on my phone when in groups of either friends or family. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph] In many ways, I can see how challenging this experiment could have been, but it made me realize that the majority of my life and what I value most, is experiences that are mostly face to face not face to screen. This, to my surprise, was a happy conclusion and that made me appreciate my upbringing and personal habits.


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