The news sucks. We all know this. Terrible things seem to be happening all the time and even though we know good things happen every day, they don’t get reported as often. So how do we keep up while keeping sane?
A couple years ago, I was done with the news. I felt like I was getting dragged into the mud and guck when all the headlines were about death and destruction. Why do news outlets focus on all the negativity? Those headlines serve as serious clickbait. Fear grabs our attention faster than anything, leading people to click on the stories. More clicks, more money.
I did some research and found studies that said too much bad news can actually make you sick (read here and listen here). When we only read bad news, we see the world in a bad light. But really, things are technically better than they’ve ever been! Hans Rosling, Anna Rosling Rönnlund, and Ola Rosling wrote a fantastic book called Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World–and Why Things Are Better Than You Think. Give it a read — I guarantee it will inspire you to pay more attention to studies and not let the news industry clickbaits guide your view of the world.
One thing the Roslings pointed out in their book is that progress takes time. Terrible things happen at a faster rate than progress, making it easier for reporters to meet deadlines. But because progress requires effort, it means we should celebrate it even more!
After researching (and overthinking) this subject, I decided to start a podcast called JoyBinge where my co-host and I share positive news stories. Every other week, we talk through different issues and share our own stories. Currently we are on hiatus until November so we can be fresh for the second season. Running a podcast with just a two person team is exhausting, but it’s been worth it to see all of the stories about the good that people are doing in our world.
Since starting the podcast, I found several news organizations, other podcasts, and social media accounts dedicated to bringing you journalism that focuses on the good stuff: stories that celebrate the hard work and dedication people bring to all sorts of issues around the world. And not just the fluffy stories (which are fun too)!
Now, this is not to say that you should only ingest good new stories. Remember, our news diets are best balanced, like our food diets. So feel free to take in as many of the difficult stories as you want, with the addition of a healthy helping of good news! Only you can determine what that balance is for you. Maybe you hit the good news hard for a bit, or you only keep up with what’s going on through news summaries. Maybe you read three tough articles then one good story. Try out some different blends and see what works for you. Just try to remember that good stories exist in the news, so don’t be afraid to look for them!
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