Ever since I was a kid, I was never really the person who watches the mainstream television to watch news. Watching news on a television is a culture that a lot of people just grew up with as a “default.”
Here are some of thoughts on why I don’t value reading or watching mainstream media anymore.
- The important news will come to you one way or the other.
- They are written or crafted to trigger emotions rather than inform about things.
- Too much information. We need less distractions.
Depending on what you call important, one way or the other, it’s going to get through you. Your families and friends will talk to you about it. Your co-workers will chat about it at the beginning of the meeting. Even when you’re just watching your favourite YouTube artists or gaming, the really important ones will come to you. If it’s a calamity or call to action alerts, the government have plans for it (I hope). So relax if you didn’t read the 08:00 AM latest news.
All these mainstream (and not mainstream) media outlets want your data and attention. It’s a day and age where attention is the most scarce resource in our time. The more you spend time consuming these content, the more they become valuable. So you have to re-think about this, are you just after a “1 liner factful information”, a tabular report, or a 2 pager essay about that story?
Only you can say what is really important news because only you knows what you really care about. Similar to how you manage your emails and tasks, it’s important you manage these news information as well.
Unfortunately, a “good story” is thought provoking and captures the emotions of the consumer. My personal belief is news as information should be delivered as plain facts. But then again, it won’t sell to the mass audience.
I feel itchy when news reporter have a very sad and emotional face when delivering a tragic story where people died, then in 20 seconds they can all talk about their new shoes and laugh about it.
As much as I want to say that those emotions and feelings get in to me, it does - eventually. It will then affect my mood, my work productivity, my relationship with people, etc etc. So having an understanding on your capacity and capability to handle these emotional triggers should be looked after.
Knowing who you are such as understanding these emotional triggers can help you become much more productive in life. Feeling sad about a specific topic, what can you do within your reach to help make a difference? Maybe choose a charity to donate with. Volunteer to a non-profit. You can’t solve all the problems in the world, but you don’t need to solve world peace in 7 days to make a difference.
Too much information
A lot of people dying of Covid19. Someone’s dog is missing. A celebrity had a Twitter clash with someone. A new movie is coming. All of them can be form of “news” and be of equal impact the more you spend time with them. You can consume hundreds or thousands of clips and links from all these mainstream media on a daily basis - there is no scarcity for these outlets.
I think this boils down to knowing your intention from these media. If your intention is research, maybe listening to news is not the way to go? If your intention is to be “well-informed”, then you have to define what level and type of information you want to receive. It’s very important to know that these information, however small, will occupy a mental real-estate tax on your head, so it’s very important to focus on information that is relevant for you.
I had a different point of view now of news after reading some history books. When you read a history book, you just look at the straight facts and happenings around it. There is no polarization. Unlike hearing or reading news that are half-baked, it’s still subject for bias and propaganda.
In the end, I just ignore the news (or the mainstream media). I don’t care about the newscasters, their “signatures”, their shoes or watches. If I need to know about a specific topic, I do my own due diligence to know enough - defined by my own parameters. I think it’s about time that we revisit the importance of these mainstream media to our lives.