Taking a Break From the News
I have always been a self-professed news junkie. Just ask my husband, who I force on a daily basis to sit in front of the nightly newscast on TV. Or look at my Facebook or Twitter streams, chock full of the news feeds from newspapers, online publications and TV news. I’ve always thought that consuming the news was a good thing. After all, as my father says, “You gotta know what’s going on in the world.”. But recently, a friend of mine mentioned that he doesn’t look at the news. At first I was kind of shocked. How could one go about their day not knowing what’s “going on in the world”? What if something major happened that everyone MUST KNOW RIGHT NOW???
Later that day, I sat down to get my fill of the evening news, and to be quite honest, it was not a pleasant experience. People killed in car accidents. People getting arrested or on trial for heinous crimes. Political battles. People complaining about things. Animals being abused. There was maybe one positive story for every ten negative ones. I got up and turned off the TV. And I haven’t looked back. For the past couple of weeks I haven’t looked at the news once. I removed all of the mainstream news sources from my online streams too. I just gave it up, cold turkey.
So how has life been since going on my crash news diet?
I don’t miss it.
Not once have I been in a situation where I thought, “gosh, I miss knowing what’s going on”. Not once.
I’m choosing differently.
I’m finding new and interesting things to read online. Things like Brain Pickings, and I $@#%ing Love Science. The stories on sites like these are newsworthy, but not sensationalized. They are inspirational and educational.
I didn’t realize the impact looking at depressing news every day was having on my life. But it’s been significant. And as someone who suffers from depression, doing things that don’t depress me is, well, logical.
Originally, I was just going to give up news for a few weeks, to see what happened. Now, I’ve decided to make it permanent. I no longer need the news. And it feels good.
I hear you, miss. I find the news (the unfiltered, real stuff) happening away from the major networks. Al Jazeera, Daily KOS, The Logical Indian, etc.
The “news” today seems nothing more than who can take pot shots at the other stations the most, and facts be damned.
Danny Brown well said, my friend!
I stopped reading the newspaper and listening to the news years ago, and I haven’t missed it. If there is a major catastrophe, the news junkies in my life will let me know. Unfortunately, bad news sells, so that’s what gets reported!
I stopped watching the news in 1997. It was when Jerry Springer had been hired to do a weekly editorial in the NBC news in Chicago. Two anchors, Carol Marin and Ron Magers quit NBC in protest.
That’s when I saw that the news anchors took themselves far too seriously for what they do. The news isn’t about information. It’s about titillating people to sit through commercials. Lawn care commercials, mattress commercials … those pay for the news and they need people to sit through those commercials. People will sit through the commercials if there’s some bizarre crime that impacts the 3 people who were involved. The rest of us are voyeurs and potential mattress buyers. We aren’t any smarter or better off really.
During the Cronkite days, there weren’t so many options. Today, we have 18-screen movie theaters, the internet, DVD players, video games … so many alternatives to watching the news at 5pm. So, the news has to be extra titillating, extra gory, extra inflammatory in order to compete for eyeballs.
Jerry Springer is honest about what he does. He has never pretended that he’s got anything more than a dumb show that generates ratings. To see Marin and Magers get all upset over the hiring of Jerry Springer … my gosh! They really didn’t seem to get that they’re in the entertainment biz.
And I was done with watching the news: May 1997.
Thanks for sharing Oz!
doesn’t it depend on the definition of “news”? instant news on social media? or social trends that are reflected in books (which might take a year or more for the author to do) are also news.
Kristian W. I think the discussion is specifically about the evening news on major networks. Many of us were raised to be sure to watch the evening news in order to know what’s going on in the world.
At the time, there was no social media. The alternatives to being quickly informed were newspapers and word-of-mouth.
Today, the evening news has too much competition. They even report completely wrong stuff because they want to be able to claim to have been the first to break a story. Not knowing that they didn’t have all the facts or a complete understanding, they later have to issue an apology.
I stopped watching the news, and feel the same way that suzemuse describe: I don’t miss it. On the occasions when I’m over someone else’s house and they’re watching the news, it’s even more disgusting than in 1997. Blood, sex, scandal, conflict … and sports and weather.