Part Two

Open your mind

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The so-called “echo chamber” effect — our tendency as human beings to seek information that we’re likely to agree with — is well known. To be well informed, we need to seek out and pay attention to information sources that will offer new perspectives and challenge our own assumptions, rather than simply reinforcing our current beliefs. Thanks to the enormous amount of news and analysis available on the Internet, this is easier than ever before.

Echo chamber effect

Echo Chamber Diagram

Opening your mind includes recognizing our biases — we all have biases! — and challenging our assumptions. If we don’t do that on a regular basis, we are guaranteed to be misinformed, perhaps on vital issues.

The easiest way to move outside your comfort zone is simply to range widely. For example, if you’re an American, check out Global Voices Online, a project that aggregates blogging and other material from outside North America. If you are a white American, stop by The Root and other sites offering news and community resources for and by African Americans. Follow links shared on social media, especially when they take you to sources with which the author disagrees. Diversity can be a little harder to find in traditional media than online media, but there are numerous excellent publications focusing on different political points  of view, different ethnic and national groups, and other types of differences. Spring for a subscription or pick up a recommended book on a topic you don’t know about.

Whatever your world view, you can find educated, articulate people who see things differently based on the same general facts. Sometimes they’ll have new facts that will persuade you that they’re right; more often, no doubt, you’ll hold to the view you started with, but perhaps with a more nuanced understanding of the matter.

Diverse outlets to explore:

This project aggregates content from outside North America.

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This digital outlet focuses on news and culture from Black perspectives.

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Indian Country Today is the largest website covering the Indigenous world.

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This nonprofit news outlet focuses on the U.S. criminal justice system.

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Based in Sydney, Curve has covered lesbian issues for two decades.

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This American magazine highlights LGBTQ news, fashion, entertainment, and lifestyle news.

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Mitú describes its audience as the 200%, 100% American and 100% Latino.

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