I stopped watching TV news. It was a conscious choice after realizing the impact it had on my well-being. In fact, I gradually started noticing that watching TV news made me feel worried, anxious, sad.
Do I need more “noise” in my life when I have so many things to think about?
Well, I know it might be strange for you to read these words. After all, I always wanted to be a journalist, I studied to become one and I worked in the field for a short period of time. However, one of the things I remember from my studies is the agenda setting theory. Basically, it is about how the news media influence the topics that we consider to be important to talk about.
When I lived in the city I used to watch TV news. I wanted to stay informed, but editorial interests were showing me where to focus my attention. Think about the opening news or the amount of time given to a certain topic. For example, before moving here it was all about the financial crisis in Portugal. All day, every day talking about the same thing. Well, this can´t be good. Who was unemployed was worried because “I will never find a job opportunity again”, whereas who was employed could only suffer from anxiety thinking “until when will I have a job?” Fear was installed in Portugal and I think TV news played a big part in this.
But TV news can also be entertainment, not only because of the power of images and the way news are presented (sometimes with soundtrack to create an emotional response in the audience), but also because it becomes part of our meals (nobody talks while the anchor or reporter is speaking) or the background noise while doing other things. Thank you, but I don´t want this kind of entertainment anymore.
In the end, watching TV news gave me a false sense of control. In fact, now I understand that I was the one being controlled. So what do I do nowadays? I read online newspapers, so I can choose the news I want to know according to my interests. Maybe I will not know the latest hot topic, but I feel more empowered than ever before.