EMAIL #161 - 20TH MARCH 2022 - "IS THE NEWS GOOD FOR YOU?"
There is so much significant "life changing" stuff going on in the world at present and there is a pressing need to stay up to date and well-informed each day. So how you get your news fix each day and the quality of what you consume is more important than ever before. But have you ever stopped to ask yourself, is the news I regularly tune in to accurate, is it well produced, is it important and is it good for me?
"Your attention is valuable - it might be the most important thing you have." Unknown
A January article in the online publication "Farnam Street" raised the above questions about the validity and quality of the news we all consume. The article's conclusion is that a lot of "news" is actually bad for you and here is why.
News by definition is something that doesn't last. It only exists for a moment before it is out of date and changes. Because of social media, news has become cheaper and cheaper to produce and is now suffering from "too much quantity and not enough quality". News is everywhere and it never ends. It is now extremely hard to ignore the news or to separate yourself from it. One of the most damaging aspects of today’s 24-hour non-stop news feed is that for many people it becomes addictive, and it fuels their anxiety and their insecurity.
"Any time or energy that goes into what doesn't matter comes at the expense of what does." Shane Parish
The unfortunate fact is that as the speed and quantity of the news has increased the quality and accuracy has decreased. Likewise, as the cost of producing news has dropped to almost nothing, the competition for readers has exploded, so it's become "a race to the bottom". It is natural to want to be up-to-date and to "tune in, so you don't miss out on the latest breaking news". So, news can start to monopolize your time and attention, and it can alter your mood and keep you wanting more.
The majority of news you consume today is irrelevant tomorrow and the lifespan of new is getting shorter and shorter. Also, 99% of the news we now consume is free, but it is still being controlled to some degree by the advertisers who pay for its production. For advertisers, it's all about getting the maximum page views per dollar, even at the expense of truth and accuracy.
So what's the answer? Here are some "Farnam Street" recommendations.
- Read fewer short articles and more long form dense publications or books.
- Don't get the majority of your news from social media.
- Listen + watch public media, such as the ABC.
- Look for the facts & data and take little notice of opinion pieces.
- Follow well known reporters or journalists and content based on first-hand experience.
Thanks for reading,
Stay safe and be discerning about what you read.