Thursday, April 18, 2013

Why I don't normally listen to the news - but am thankful for journalism

I don't listen to the news. I don't watch CNN, Fox, or any news channel. Occasionally I will glance at the NY times or CNN. Why do you ask? In one word - negativity.

The news media excels in making us aware of all the negative things going in the world. From terrorism, to the obesity epidemic, to the attention deficit order, to floods etc. Hardly ever does one see a positive piece of news. And why so? Negative news sells. Negative news makes people angry, and turn back into the channel. Negative news can be sensationalized.

Now I don't want to pretend that  burying my head in the sand is the answer. But I do think that most people pay too much attention to the news. I find a balance by occasionally glancing at the news, and knowing enough to make important decisions e.g., who to vote for. But that is what I want to limit it to. I would rather spend time with family, read tech blogs, work hard at my job, and generally remain happy, than remain 'informed.'

One exception - the recent Boston acts of terrorism. That is the one time I was thankful for journalists, and news sources such as NPR. Not Twitter, NPR. Why? NPR, and other news outlets check their sources. Twitter was already abuzz with rumours 30 minutes after the incident  12 dead, while only 2 people were confirmed dead. And so on and so forth.

So thanks for journalism and the news media for keeping us informed when it counts. In most other days though, I shall continue to ignore 90% of what you say.