Comforting the Afflicted and Afflicting the Comfortable

News Junkie Confidential

Hello, my name is Doug and I’m a newsaholic. It’s been 11 months since my last newscast.

Of all the changes involved in moving from the city life of the National Capital Region to the country life in Floyd County, none have been more difficult than shaking my news junkie habit.

A journalist can’t help it. Spending 40 years in and around journalism fed and nurtured that habit. I worked in offices where multiple television screens carried newscasts 24 hours a day. I spent much of my adult life jetting off to one news event or another. A Blackberry on my belt allowed assignment editors to communicate via email in real time and news feeds from all the major wire services arrived on my PDA 24/7. On the road, I kept CNN on in my hotel room, even while sleeping, as both background white noise and information.

In Washington, local news began at 4 a.m. on both the NBC and CBS affiliates and ran until the network morning shows started at 7. When the Today Show went off at 10, Channel 4 came back with another hour of local news. Afternoon newscasts started at 4 and ran until 7 when the network news shows came on. I captured newscasts on a Tivo so I could watch when I got home.

Besides the Blackberry and PDA, I carried a notebook computer with a wireless modem that could connect most anywhere in the country. I also kept a list of Wi-Fi hotspots stored on the PDA I could tap into them while on the road.

I was wired as only a news junkie can be in these techno-savvy times. So withdrawal came hard, even harder than my withdrawal from alcohol 11 years, four months and 15 days ago. Now I work out of a studio with no TV newscasts. Local news from Roanoke doesn’t start until 5:30 a.m. in the morning and the Today Show here is followed by The 700 Club, not news. Afternoon news starts at 5 and the CBS stations breaks away at 5:30 for reruns of The Andy Griffith Show. National news starts at 6:30 p.m.

The Blackberry went offline a couple of months ago and I disconnected the data service on my PDA last month. The wireless modem on the notebook joined the Blackberry in a bottom desk drawer and I haven’t scheduled a newscast on the Tivo for some months now.

I still fall asleep with the news on but Amy turns it off when she comes to bed so I can’t even depend on a subliminal information dump.

I’m clean and sober from my news junkie habit. Uninformed perhaps, but still clean.

6 Responses to News Junkie Confidential

  1. Rachel says:

    You are making great strides at letting go, so to speak!! Congratulations on being off alcohol too! Kudos to you!!

  2. Sean says:

    You’re far from uninformed my friend. The Rant is always a good read and you’ve always had something clear to say when we bump into each other for conversation. Uninformed? Nahhh . . .now, the lack of a subliminal dump might make it feel like you are, but it doesn’t look that way to me!

  3. Walt says:

    Well, with me, it’s always
    something.. I gave up drinking and drugging 30 years ago, then 10 years after that, I gave up cigarettes.. So now I eat
    too much.. And tend to work too much..

    My life is sort of like a waterbed.. It pops up over here—I squish it down—and then the pressure pops
    it up someplace else..

    And “moderation!” What is THAT?? My motto has always been that if you’re not going to do something excess, why even bother??

    Doug, when I read about the
    stories coming in, the urgency and excitement, I started to get a little adrenaline “rush.” It’s hard to give that up, but it was sure worth it.. I’m
    taking time now to stop and eat the flowers..

  4. Elise says:

    Uninformed? Never, and I for one am happy about that.

  5. Tabor says:

    Actually, I think if you have been a news junkie for a few decades there is no new news anyway–I’m sure you’ve heard it all in one version or another.

  6. Karen says:

    Well, Doug, now there’s still one 12-step program left for you (if you’re into that type of thing): Overeaters Anonymous.
    I’ve recovered from all you’ve listed, and also from workaholism (probably the toughest of them all) and now I’m tackling the last one: overeating!

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