News- Is It Really That Important?

OK. The conventional wisdom goes that it is really important to be in touch with what’s happening. After all, we live connected and an incident happening 2000 or 20000 miles away can have great repercussions in our lives.  As an informed citizen, we can take better decisions and understand the macro factors involved influencing our micro lives. Heck, they also have a general awareness section in many examinations these days. Even if we consider that an average adult spends only half-an-hour every day watching news, that amounts to 10,000 hours of self-inflicted pain over a lifetime. Yes, pain it is.

I’m not a very big fan of news. Broadly taking into consideration the entire spectrum, there are only two kinds out there- the first group involves value addition in terms of a personal outlook and opinion while the second group is a hoax. The sad ‘news’ is most  fall into the second group in the name of sensationalism and TRPs. Political propaganda, celebrity gossips, all-prevalent crime scene and persuasive advertising are the usual ones on endless display. If you belong to the intelligentsia, you must already be having efficient filters to get through to that elusive diamond lying in a coal mine. I’m not that intelligent, so I dropped the idea altogether.

Tension due to negative news

Your heart will skip a beat indeed.

Here are the six reasons I’m no longer interested in reading any news:

  1. It is meant to be gloomy: A simple exercise for you. Pick up any newspaper and just find out the articles which lift your mood and compare them with the ones which predict a gloomy outlook for the future. Please don’t get overwhelmed by the result. Research states that we are innately drawn to negative news. The reforestation attempts in Orissa is no news compared to the 112th telecast of the Kathmandu plane hijack.
  2. It’s not always true: You can’t expect the sources to research for 6 hours when the channels compete to be the fastest news provider. The reliability rests comfortably in backseat while the rumors often flourish on the crumbs of  information passed on by our all-informed journalists; struggling to get a toehold over a competitor.
  3. Discouragement is what I get: What! You were just getting ready for a job interview when some news came that US is going to curb outsourcing and Indian IT sector will be heading straight to a gutter? The homicides and rape incidents in your city have increased by 19% over the last year? Or the lack of monsoon will potentially rob you of your life’s savings and the pulses gonna cost a bomb tomorrow? It can get really ugly in your mind, and those late night crime tales of the city won’t help either.
  4. It’s a drop of water in a vast ocean: Will your soaking up all the news really benefit you a couple of years from now? Do you even remember the major headlines or events of last week? Will the endless discussions on TV about the rampant corruption even motivate you to vote for the right candidate next time? If you take a bird’s-eye view of your life, the frailty will be apparent and you’ll be driven to some more creative source. You can always try reading a book instead. The joy and learning are pretty much endless.
  5. It doesn’t focus on the right topics mostly: Do you think the issue of gender sensitization deserves the same screen space as a movie promotion or an after-match party? Heck, the situation often swings to the wrong side of the equation. Yeah, they need to groove, education can always wait.
  6. It makes me numb to the world’s pain: We are bombarded by news of murder, arson, rape, bombings, misery, poverty, war, disease and unemployment. I can’t even feel compassionate after such a negative mass information inflow. The world seems beyond redemption. But I would prefer to have some ray of light and hope instead of living with feelings of perpetual fear and despair.

My family or friends always tell me about things I should know. I’ve avoided news from some months now, and I’m doing well. We need to make a choice. Instead of switching on TV each day, we can give some time to things we’ve always wanted to do. To learn a language, know a neighbor or just take a stroll in the neighborhood. Life is often a result of minute lifestyle decisions. The nuclear warheads will remain pointed towards us. I’m going to get some coffee.

Posted by: Rohit Gupta

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3 thoughts on “News- Is It Really That Important?

  1. It depends on whom you choose to provide you with news.. you can not generalize hence.. i mean.. i have been a huge fan of both DD NEWs and CNN. Plus The Hindu, Hindu is EPIC. It’s a kind of newspaper, you can get addicted to. And importantly, yes not all news is important or maybe not all news is news.. but that’s an art to find what we want to read.. i m personally fan of the opinion page and discussions and of course food shows, and of course travel shows..

    • You are absolutely right about the importance of choice while choosing a provider! But, that’s what I was worried about, constant filters in place!
      Meanwhile, Op-Ed, Editorial and food, travel, sports etc. are exempted from my scrutiny. They are different.! Thanks for dropping by, Hitesh!

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