Read the newspaper every day. It is a good habit, yet with an efficient market, the news you are reading is old and should not be of much value. However, a recent paper suggests that if you just count the number of times the word "recession" is used in the WSJ and FT, you will have a pretty good recession indicator. In fact, a media recession indicator (MRI) is as effective or better than many of the well-known financial indicators. See "What is the value of financial news?".
Is this useful? The authors show that if you are willing to follow their raw score, it can give a good indicator of recession six months in advance. Value can be generated by selling risky equity assets when the count reaches a threshold. Now, I don't know if I will do the count for 10 years waiting for that one trade, but it does provide a clear indication that following the themes and memes in newspapers can be helpful.
The most provocative part of this paper is that a MRI may be a better indicator of recession than some of the market based measured. At the very least, tracking the MRI will enhance an investor's ability to track a recession. This is just an enhancement of using news headlines, when converted into an index, can provide unique information.
Mentions of the word recession clearly increase before a recession. There is greater focus on the business cycle. The MRI clear matches other measures of recession such as term premium, default spreads and the GDPnow nowcasts. When investment decisions are conditioned on MRI, there is significant value-added relative to a buy and hold strategy. Watch news stories.