From How to Make Compassion Last by Megan Cecile Radford in Relevant Magazine’s Reject Apathy
“It’s difficult to prioritize human pain and suffering. Of course, it’s good that news outlets want to equip citizens with ways they can help close to home. But sometimes this can eclipse other crises overseas where devastation is also occurring, where many lives are also being lost, where aid is also needed….
It’s not up to the media to find every story that matters. It’s up to us. Here are some suggestions on how you can keep up to date with what’s happening in the world and discover ways to help, with or without seeing the crisis on the news:
Follow locals on Twitter
This is how journalists often get stories, and you can too. Look up hashtags for countries you’re trying to find information on, and you’ll usually find a wide array of bloggers, activists and everyday citizens letting you know what’s happening in their area.
Get in touch with NGOs in the area
Charities and NGOs are good resources for figuring out what’s happening on the ground, and how you can get involved in raising awareness or funds for their work, long after the camera crews have rolled out. Some great places to start are: The Red Cross (or Red Crescent), the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, Médecins Sans Frontières, Amnesty International and International Justice Mission. All of these send out regular updates on their websites and to their newsletter subscribers.
Read and watch more than one media outlet
There aren’t enough reporters per news outlet to catch every story. So check out a news site you wouldn’t normally look at, and see what other stories are out there. Don’t limit yourself to media from your home country, either. Reading news from a different culture means you get the story from a totally different perspective—which is always a good thing.
One of Masson’s suggestions is to equip yourself for a specific kind of crisis or area. Rather than spreading yourself thin and trying to know all things about all places, do what we journalists do—specialize. Pick a specific country or region, or a specific kind of need. Maybe it’s helping victims of sex trafficking, or rebuilding after an earthquake, or agriculture for arid lands. Whatever it is, become an expert. Equip yourself to help, and then follow news and charities that are on the ground already. When a problem arises, whether it’s in the next town, or across the world, you can be ready to do your bit of good.”
How do you stay current and involved without getting overwhelmed?