Turn Off the News
March 20, 2015
Filed In: Philosophy
Since late last summer, I’ve had a subscription to the Wall Street Journal. It’s my first newspaper subscription, having before gotten the majority of news from websites. I must say, there have been a lot of unexpected difference in the print news as opposed to digital news. I’ve grown to hate 24 hour news networks.
Getting most news updates about once per day feels like the right amount of updates. While news is always breaking, not everything deserves my attention. While news stories are constantly evolving, a 24 hour break in between checking up on stories allows reporters to gather facts instead of reporting on speculation. Another highlighted benefit of reading print news is that instead of always being reactionary, reporting on stories as they happen, they’re proactive. Reporters are doing in-depth studies on issues, investigations into topics, and frankly, breaking stories through original content.
When I compare the news reported in newspapers and the news reported on 24 hour networks and websites, there’s really no comparison. Digital news is a disaster.
Too often, websites and networks, under pressure to feed content to the masses, will report on something, anything. They’ll embellish stories, report inaccuracies, and just do an all around poor job of news reporting. Since they don’t have enough hard news to report and don’t do many in-depth studies, they have to stuff fluff pieces into their news. They’ll report on celebrity gossip, they’ll overreport someone’s meltdown, or they’ll bring you live coverage of a ballon over a desert, a musicians funeral, or continually report on shark attacks, although there isn’t necessarily a higher incidence at that particular time.
Of course, there’s plenty of fear and speculation laced into every story. We’re filled with anxiety about epidemics that will never reach our shores en mass, we stress over who our next president will be when it won’t be decided for 18 months, and we worry over the impact of court cases that won’t be decided for years. 24 hour news is bad for your health.
The best way to get your news, in my opinion, is through a newspaper. There's something about the experience of having your paper delivered or picking it up daily. There's something about feeling the paper in your hand and reading a story that you know has been through several rounds of editing, not reporting based on someone's tweet five minutes ago. We just don't have any justifiable need for constant updates. A newspaper, with a set publication schedule, has time to gather facts and present actual news, not just conjecture.
If you find that 24 hour news is overwhelming you or is reporting things that just aren't news, turn it off.