One of the things I was most looking forward to as part of my teaching over in Singapore for a few months was taking a break from what seemed to be the constant bombardment of negative news back in the U.S.
Most of that negative news was of a political nature. I know I could have simply stopped watching or reading the news, but that seems like a difficult task. Plus, I like to be informed and think there is value in being up to date. But at some point, it becomes too much, too stressful, and I just wanted to get away from it.
And getting away to Singapore seemed to be working, at least for the first couple of weeks. I wasn’t constantly checking to read about the latest battle in Washington.
But then the coronavirus started spreading, and since it originated in Asia, it became big news here.
Whenever I glance at the newspapers or TV stations, it seems that is all they talk about. I have been impressed by the response of the Government of Singapore, and I am confident in their ability to contain the virus and to ensure the welfare of everyone. Despite that, reading and watching the news creates more anxiety.
Exactly what I was hoping to get away from.
So I started thinking; is making people stressful just a natural consequence of following the news? And if so, does it have to be? Has it always been this way?
Back home, we would always watch World News Tonight with David Muir, and our favorite segment was always the last one. The final story is always a feel-good piece, and I’ve often wished there were more of those stories on the news.
But if having multiple feel-good stories in one broadcast is too much, I wonder what it would be like if the feel-good story became the lead story, and political stories were saved until the end. I know that it’s nice to save the best for last and to leave the audience smiling at the end, but starting with a happy story may just help viewers get through the rest of the news in a more positive way. Or how about no more than three minutes on any one topic – politics, weather, business, sports, arts, health and wellness, etc.
This may also explain why the late-night talk shows and The Onion are so popular. They often take a look at the news but in a humorous, non-stress inducing manner.
Maybe that should be the way all news is delivered. I think people prefer to laugh rather than worry.
I know I do.
*image from Explore Traveler