Joe Wolfson using a tablet

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Joe Wolfson practices law with a law firm in Philadelphia, and is a father of three daughters.

I have always been a politics and news junkie. As a kid, I would listen to Eric Sevareid on the car radio with my father and discuss politics and world events. That sparked my initial interest, which was later fed by reading the New York Times in the morning and watching Walter Cronkite on the CBS Evening News TV after school, and then after work. But times have changed. I am still amazed at the availability of news 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week. And with that availability has come something else… the constant “refreshing” of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Times of Israel webpages to see if anything has happened in the 60 seconds since I last checked.

I’ve also come to realize something else. Notwithstanding my constant reloading of those webpages to check for new news, I have become somewhat less interested in what were once some of my favorite topics. Whether its politics, foreign affairs, or sports, I find myself clicking through articles and headlines with less and less interest. I guess that comes not only from the constant reloading of the pages, but also the need for news sites to fill the pages, so there is less I’m actually interested in reading. You would think that because of the increase in less interesting pieces, my need to go to the media pages would decline proportionately. And I have seen recently that this is partly true. I am visiting online news sources less and less often. But surprisingly, I’ve also seen my interests and appreciation for what’s online changing.

No longer am I just going to the same old websites and reading the same types of news. Rather, I’ve discovered other offerings that both satisfy my interests while leading me to become less of a constant “reloader”. In particular, I have developed an appreciation for podcasts. I have to admit I was a late-comer to podcasts, but I am now all in. I find the ability to go from listening to an in-depth history podcast such as Slow Burn to a current events podcasts, to comedy podcasts such as Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast, not only incredible, but miraculous! Now, instead of reloading webpages and seeing only what is being fed to me, I can find the particular podcast that satisfies me and what I’m looking for at that particular moment. It took me a while to realize how listening to podcasts has changed me. Not only am I “reloading” less, but I am actually finding what I am looking for… information that satisfies my interests. In turn, I realize that having the ability to actively choose my media and news consumption actually puts me in a better mood because I am less frustrated with the media offerings.

I have to admit I did not realize this change in my attitude at first. It took speaking about the podcasts I was listening to with others, particularly my family, to notice the shift. And that, it turns out, is the biggest gift that came from decreasing my use of news media and increasing my use of podcasts the fact that the media choices available give me something new and interesting to talk to my family about. I look forward to calling up my daughter after listening to Jonathan Goldstein’s most recent adventures on Heavyweight to discuss the episode and hopefully become closer through the new common interest I never anticipated having with her. So while consuming news media was once a distraction and something that caused me to go it alone, podcasts and choosing what to listen to is now something that I use to make myself happier and become closer to my family. And that unexpected turn of events makes me very happy.

-Joe Wolfson
-edited by Sarah Wolfson

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