Earlier this week one of my friends encouraged me to read a COVID-19 article (that has since been taken down) with a disclaimer that said they don’t fact check their articles.

This was an a-ha moment for me as I realized not everyone understands how to efficiently read the news or the difference between firsthand opinions and verified sourced news.

In times like these, it is most important to focus on the facts from reliable sources. One of my favorite newsletters – Harvard Business Review’s Management Tip of the Day – summed this up well in a recent brief that read, “…do your best to distinguish between people who are speculating and those who have sound information.”

If you, like many, are finding it overwhelming to sift through the news each day, here are some quick tips I often apply that I hope you find helpful:

  • Become Your Own Editor: Subscribe to the daily newsletters of major national publications for breaking news / updates on the world stage and COVID-19; a lot of local outlets may publish similar items or have partnerships with papers like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal that enable them to run national stories that affect local markets.
  • Seek News from Reliable Sources: Go directly to the site of local public officials (mayors/governors) for the most up to date orders. Also, look out for webinars or virtual events featuring your local elected officials so you can form your own opinions on the facts, not those recapped by others tuning in.
  • Read with purpose. As a PR professional who regularly partners with clients across real estate, I read a lot of industry-focused news with an eye toward what my clients care about most.
  • Opinions are NOT News. Understand the intention of the section you are reading – the opinion and ideas sections, for example, are positioned differently than the news you will find on the front page.
  • Find New Ways to Get News. Webinars are happening now more than ever in place of events and are an excellent resource for expert insights of our reality in the age of social distancing.
  • Reading for Pleasure. Read long-form features and human-interest stories toward the end of the day or on the weekends to give your mind a refresh.

We are all feeling the effects of this crisis in different ways, including how we stay informed. As conversations with family, friends, coworkers, and clients continue about what is going on in the world, implementing a new strategy to best absorb information without feeling more overwhelmed could help.