Let’s face the facts: It’s 2017. Donald Trump is in the highest office of the executive branch of power. People are rightfully scared. Things are very bad.
While it’s necessary to be informed of the injustices happening around us, it doesn’t hurt to take a step back every once in a while and hear about things unrelated to Trump. In fact, I would argue that it’s absolutely necessary.
Personally, I think a well-used subscription to the New York Times (students get a discount) and a well-trodden podcast app are two sides of the same coin. There is hard news, and then there are lifestyle pieces and feature stories. The New York Times is the gold standard for both of those, and a healthy diet of news consumption calls for each.
I tend to think hard news is generally like the living room of a house. It is the major story that affects certain swaths of the population. It is what everyone sees. The feature stories are like the tiny passageways and secret doors into hidden rooms of the house. They’re interesting, they lead you deeper into the heart of the story and they make the issue feel personal.
Feature stories give names and faces to issues like healthcare, immigration bans, abortion restrictions, poverty and so on.
I dare you to seek out these unseen faces and unheard voices that build the backbone of hard news.
Listen to a podcast about beekeeping or watch a documentary about poverty that uses a different perspective than your local news would.
If you’re up to it, find these other stories. Venture off the beaten path of CNN and NBC. Listen to real people’s voices and see their faces, hear about their experiences in their own words.
When the president is making it his daily goal to censor his opponents and belittle journalists and fact checkers everywhere, now more than ever, people need to pursue their passions and protect each other’s passions as well.
Holding onto these little gems — stories of art, culture and humanity — will bind the nation together with the thread of common curiosity.
If you’re not sure where to start, I have a few recommendations.
Documentaries (most found on Netflix):
The True Cost
TED Radio Hour
Welcome to Night Vale
This American Life
Stuff You Should Know