As a news editor, I know more than most how overwhelming the news can be. Here’s how to stay informed without losing your sanity.

It can sometimes seem like the news is an endless series of tragic events. Covid pandemic. Migration crises. Catastrophic climate change. Rinse and repeat.

Particularly from the perspective of a news editor, the sense of constant tragedy and crisis can be overpowering. There’s rarely a day when I wake up and there’s not been some natural or man-made disaster dominating the headlines.

It’s so easy to slip from this torrent of disaster into negativity and anxiety. Without a healthy dose of perspective, it can feel like the whole world is crumbling around us.

DON’T ignore the news. One solution would be to shut ourselves off from it entirely. Ignorance is bliss, right? But aside from that being a self-defeating proposal for a news editor to advocate (I want to keep my job, after all), it also doesn’t really solve anything.

If we choose to blinker ourselves from the news, we might save ourselves from Covid-induced anxiety, for example. But at what cost? Imagine the disappointment and frustration you’d feel if you turned up for a holiday, only to discover the country in question was in lockdown. The news serves as a vital information service, and can help keep us safe and able to inhabit the world without too much unnecessary hassle or confusion.

DO keep things in perspective. Another feature of the news is that it highlights the new and unusual. When you read about a horrendous crime case in Luxembourg, for example, or a parking space on Boulevard Royal costing €400,000, these things attract our attention because they are so rare or extreme.

Yes, the unusual criminal act may reveal something about the justice system in the Grand Duchy, or the ludicrously expensive parking space indicate the crazy demand for spots. But they are not representative of the average or the ordinary; the texture of our daily lives is different from the headlines.

DO seek out positive or amusing stories. On this website we try and balance out the informational purpose of the news with light-hearted pieces, such as this article about a snowboarding baby, or this one about a football fan who named his children Diego, Mara, and Dona.

You could see such pieces as fluff or filler, mere entertainment compared to the real, serious topics such as politics, global conflicts, and the environment. But if that’s how you perceive these stories, I’d encourage you to think again. They provide some light relief from the sad or challenging topics we often cover, and help to remind us to keep positive and keep smiling.

DO build in regular breaks from the news. While I’d obviously love for you to spend all day on our website, you might not get much else done if you do. It’s healthy to take regular breaks from the news. And the internet in general. Go out for a walk, enjoy the fresh air. Bake a cake (if you really love us, you could even make it RTL Today themed and send us a picture!).

When you go on holiday, consider taking a few days off from the news, or only looking at it once a day. I’m a self-confessed news addict, but sometimes a short, sharp break can provide a breather, and allow me to return to reading the news with fresh interest and perspective.

DO be selective. Try to filter down to what interests you. It can be helpful to have a general awareness of the news in your area, as well as key global developments. But there is such an abundance of news that it’s simply not possible to read it all. Keep things simple by sticking to what interests you.

One approach is to look first at the headlines for an overview, then delve into the topic pages (like Luxembourg, World, or Entertainment) to find the areas that interest you most. I know this sounds mind-numbingly obvious, but many readers don’t venture off the homepage. So go explore!

DO dig deeper into topics which interest you. This is related to the point above, but if you feel passionate about a topic like the environment, or developments in sport or culture, supplement your daily news reading with additional sources to really get to grips with the area. You could listen to podcasts, watch films, read books, and so on. Use the news as a starting point and a portal for discovering interesting things, but by no means stop there.

DON’T go down the rabbit hole, though. Fake news, conspiracy theories and outright manipulation are all easily stumbled across on the internet. It can seem so easy to become an armchair expert on something after a quick Google or a scroll-fest on social media, but the temptation is best resisted.

Journalists strive to be objective, find the facts, and speak to the relevant experts. We don’t always succeed, and for sure, there is good journalism and bad journalism. But the line has to be drawn somewhere between everyone developing instant expertise on a subject and relying on professional assistance to understand what’s going on.

By the same token, if you do have expertise on an area and you spot something wrong or misleading in news coverage – do contact the news organisation to let them know. Ninety-nine percent of the time it will be an honest mistake, and they’ll be very thankful for your help! (You can contact us via audience@rtltoday.lu).