News is now more accessible than ever. 24 hour news channels, updates on phones and outlets getting increasingly prominent on social media have pushed it more and more into our lives.
Now this has its advantages. It’s easier than ever to stay informed on what’s happening at both a local and national level. The sheer volume however raises questions about sustainability. Is it possible to keep up with everything and should we even be trying to?
More and more people – myself included – have made checking the news such a big part of our lives, in a way unlike many other tasks or interests.
The convenience of push notifications or scrolling through social media has made checking the news passive enough that we do it almost without realising. A task you barely think about doing you won’t think to take a break from. This leads to people becoming hooked, constantly interrupting our days to see what’s happened in the utterly insignificant amount of time since we last checked.
Broadcast journalist and lecturer Laura Garcia says about her news habits: “It’s never in one place either, it’s spread across screens… it’s dipping in and out.
“Whether it’s Twitter or Instagram or just looking at the alerts I’ve had on my phone I’m constantly trying to stay up to date.”
To hear more from Laura watch the video below.
News – seemingly especially nowadays – is often unpleasant to say the least. Footage of everything from natural disasters to terrorist attacks routinely makes its way on to our screens. Being exposed to this material at all is unpleasant, but seeing it casually throughout the day cannot be healthy.
Journalists in newsrooms that are routinely exposed to graphic content as well as moderators on sites like Facebook have reported PTSD like symptoms. While these people are seeing more of this type of content than the average person is likely to, it does show that seeing such material can have an impact on a person.
At a time when mental health is being talked about more than ever it seems odd that this concept is seemingly not even considered.
The way we interact with news has become unsustainable. In the moment it’s easy to ignore the strain brought on by a constant pressure to stay informed, but it is there and unless we seriously rethink the way we approach news it will have consequences.