To Hell With News

As a general rule, I try to avoid consuming much news from traditional sources.

I prefer news which is actionable.

When I finish reading a story I like learning something which enables me to go, “Oh. In that case, I should ______.”

Good news fills in that blank with informed action which is productive, important and surprising.

But most news fills that gap with, I should be afraid.

While the targets they take aim at are different, news outlets on both sides of politics are constantly reverberating the same message;

People who are different from you are doing awful things, and you ought to be worried about it.

This message rings true whether you’re watching a bigot on Sky News dribble on about how maniacal the ‘climate cult’ is, or whether you’re watching a journalist on the ABC report a horrific case of domestic violence.

It used to be that this news happened twice each day; every morning when the paper was delivered and every evening when everyone got home from work.

Now we have a news cycle which doesn’t sleep, and our overexposure to it is cancerous.

Which is why I value journalists like Lisa Ling.

“It requires time and energy to get invested in other people’s stories, but I do in my heart of hearts believe that you emerge a better and smarter human as a result of taking that time.”
— Lisa Ling

Journalists who lean into the darkest complexities of society with empathy.

Instead of telling you who the good guy is, who the bad guy is, and why your should be upset, this type of journalism instead says;

Here are some people. This is what they’re going through. I’m going to try and help you understand.

Instead of preying on your emotional negativity bias by regurgitating oversimplified black-and-white narratives, these journalists find non-judgemental ways to understand people – usually in formats which take the necessary time to portray people as they really are; complex, illogical individuals.

It’s impossible to tell anyone’s full story in a news snippet.

We have nothing to gain through reinforcing polarising stereotypes, and everything to gain through compassionate conversation which fosters understanding.

If you haven’t encountered her work before, she’s well worth a google search.

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