Finding an information-life balance

“Twelve months later, how are you feeling? Do you have a sense of dread every time you open your Twitter app? Does your heart sink whenever you get a breaking news alert on your phone?”

2017 was such an intense year of unrelenting news cycles that affected all of us on a deeply personal level. For some, it was more than personal — it was their own lived reality, one nut graf at a time.

My prediction is that 2018 will bring more of an information-life balance back into our lives. This will manifest itself in three ways:

First, shifting business models away from advertising and towards consumer revenue will result in readers directly seeking out news sources they trust.

Second, greater awareness of the impact of tech addiction will result in more readers uninstalling apps from their phones, muting push notifications, and implementing a “Tech Sabbath.”

Third, readers will grow tired of the breathless coverage of the Trump administration and every play-by-play of the news cycle being played out on social media and on cable news.

This seeking of balance will create an opportunity for news organizations offering context to create more meaningful relationships with our readers — a relationship built on the quality and not the quantity of our coverage.

My prediction is also an aspirational one for those of us who work in newsrooms. May 2018 also bring a healthier work-life balance into our newsrooms.

When 2017 began, you were focused on getting the story. This was the year when your reporting and editing mattered. This was the year when journalism’s fundamental purpose was once again clarified for you. This was the year when waking up in the morning and going to work meant something more than just a paycheck.

So you worked longer hours. You became personally invested in the story. You felt every headline.

Twelve months later, how are you feeling? Do you have a sense of dread every time you open your Twitter app? Does your heart sink whenever you get a breaking news alert on your phone? Most importantly, are you able to remove yourself from the story when you’re at home with your family?

My hope is that the new year will bring you and your newsrooms colleagues a healthier work-life balance. Look after yourself. Journalism needs you at your best.

David Skok is a news strategist and former top digital executive at The Toronto Star, The Boston Globe, and Global.

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