There are so many depressing news items which we should read because they’re important. But I feel that the above examples just don’t come into this category. News shouldn’t be about shocking people and making them feel miserable about freak accidents, and I know that if something like this happened to one of my own family, I wouldn’t want it sensationalized all over the world.
The post I’m responding to today is pretty short. I recommend checking it out before you continue on with this one.
One of the biggest reasons why I have largely stopped consuming the news is due to how much it relies on fear and anger to attract readers. Sensationalistic stories win out over anything else that’s going on, and this imbalanced perspective exaggerates some dangers while completely ignoring much more serious ones.
I agree with Linda. This isn’t what the news should cover.
The problem is that it’s extremely difficult to find news sources that avoid fear-mongering because those tactics are so effective at capturing people’s attention. I’m not pointing fingers at any one political ideology here. Everyone does it.
So how do we respond to it? Opting out of keeping up with current events won’t work for everyone. A lot of people genuinely enjoy discussing what’s been happening around the world.
I have noticed that small, local newspapers, blogs, and radio/TV stations are more willing to highlight positive stories from their communities. Many years ago my brother and sister-in-law were both interviewed about their experiences as short-term volunteers in other countries. Their trips were happy, memorable occasions that made for uplifting news.
The dosage matter as well. There is a difference between skimming a blog and spending hours a day watching depressing or misleading stories. The limit for every person will vary, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with finding a balance between staying informed and avoiding truthy tales of horror.
My final piece of advice is simple: look for hope. Longterm readers know what a big fan I am of Cathryn Wellner’s blog. It’s one of the major reasons why I’m not quite as strict about avoiding the news as I was a few years ago.
Readers, what do you think?