On being informed…

You must consume news, but you also must consume it properly. Any student who’s taken my Sales Force Management course at UF knows that I start off with a loud “What’s going on in the world” to discuss current events are they’re relevant to business. It’s really important so you can make better decisions for clients, customers, and employees.

But you have to do it right!

Don’t overdo it
There’s so much negativity in the news because, quite frankly, that’s what sells. Puppies and kittens make for great memes, but don’t generate ad revenue for a newspaper. And so one must watch how much of that negativity they’re reading. Most of the negativity and sensationalization should be avoided.

Read through the clickbait
And it’s all clickbait. watch out for opinion and humanization of news stories. You see this a lot with the recent pandemic. This is a propaganda technique used to generate emotion. News shouldn’t generate emotion, it should just report. Emotion is for the opinion page. However, that’s been less and less true of late. Similarly, be aware of moving numbers and the shell game. In the coronavirus example, you’d see many journalists use positivity, raw numbers, or per capita numbers conveniently in time or geographic comparisons. Rarely did they stick to a metric. That’s usually a red flag. It doesn’t have to be covid, it can be stocks, growth, or whatever. 100 percent growth, in anything is meaningless unless you know you’re going from five to 10, or five million to 10 million (cases, dollars, customers, etc).

Get Balanced
News has a bias. Gets both sides. Even business news. Balance Fox with CNN and/or MSNBC, for example. You should also know your news sources biases and consider that when a piece includes or omits information.

Don’t over do it
Saying this again for emphasis. You should only need about 30 minutes to get an idea of what’s up in the world. Just set up your cadence ahead of time and try RSS feeds.