I have expressed my views about the dire state of national news in a previous blog, particularly, the negative and dramatic reporting which prompted me to abstain from news completely for 15 years. So, I am pleased to see there is a growing conversation about this online and that a move towards more balanced journalism and positive news has also begun, though it’s in its infancy.
Add to this, the relatively new phenomenon of ‘fake news’ which is already a massive issue and the whole thing is looking like a media circus! But there are other aspects of the news which are equally disturbing and which I have not seen discussed anywhere, perhaps because we have grown so accustomed to them that they have become our new (actually, not so new) norm.
One of these is ‘non-news’. Everyday, the number of ‘non-news’ news stories which appear on BBC online outnumber the real news stories by a large margin. Since when did a school asking parents not to buy Christmas presents for its teachers become national news? And this is the second time the story has appeared (albeit two different schools) in a week.
The other issue is repetition. The news now tells us if a key story is going to break later that day (for instance, an important report or a government announcement) and not only that, it actually tells us what it’s going to contain. It then tells us when it happens (in detail, obviously) and it also tells us what it told us again, later on. At the very least, this feels like brainwashing, though more likely it’s just space-filling as news is such big business these days. If I ever listen to the radio whilst driving, it’s even worse as I can’t be selective and I am subjected to the same story on the hour. The whole thing is out of control.
One simple fix for space filling would be to include positive stories instead and report some of the amazing things happening in our world which are finding solutions to global issues. There’s also the courage and compassion of our fellow human beings in crises and the discussions that are happening about re-shaping our world – politically, economically, socially, environmentally and every which way, to name but a few. This costs nothing, it simply requires a different mindset and a change of subject and what a power for good it would be. It could provide inspiration to others to follow suit, to find solutions to problems in their own lives, to think outside the box and become more compassionate towards others.
Taking control of your life just a little bit has the power to reduce stress and improve health. Who says that balanced reporting of bad news and the inclusion of good news won’t sell papers or drive web traffic? Perhaps it will increase both.
Meanwhile, it’s a question of filtering the news and not being drawn into time-wasting trivia or gossip and amongst all the doom and gloom, to know that everything has the potential for a positive flip-side, if not now then in the future. It’s essential to ensure the news doesn’t drag you down and put a dampener on your mood which can so easily affect the rest of your life, as well as what you expect from the world around you. Life is challenging enough and it requires us to be best we can to navigate a course through it and, preferably, keep smiling. Just as there is growing awareness of the need to be more disciplined about engaging with social media to avoid addiction and to make time to live our lives in the real world, so news consumption needs to be managed to avoid overdosing on the irrelevant and the negative.
With this in mind, my recent podcast entitled ‘consciously creating the life you want‘ explains how to take charge of your reality and become the master of your own life. This requires a big focus on emotional balance which, by and large, comes from eradicating negativity, another good reason to consume media with caution and take time away from devices, so you actually know how and what you feel!
Pics: Talisman and his new girlfriend Seren, the day she arrived; work in the menage stops to take in a magnificent double rainbow; in the middle of nowhere in North Wales riding out with a friend; a brief let-up in the rain whilst recording the podcast, most of which was recorded under a brolly in the freezing cold – why, you might ask? Because the sound quality is far better outside!
Videos & podcasts: Videos can be found in the Vlog section of this site and on Youtube. Podcasts can be found here too and in the iTunes store (search ‘Fiona Price practical spirituality for everyday living’).
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