‘I’ve stopped watching the news’ said my friend.

I was appalled! I always watch the news on a daily basis to catch up with what is going on in the world, otherwise I feel out of touch. As I’m in a weekly quiz team I also feel the need to keep my general knowledge up to date, knowing about all the latest movie releases, chart music, TV shows and celebrity gossip can come in handy, honest!

I queried my friend over this bizarre decision and he said that for a week he watched the news and assessed if any of it impacted on his actual daily life and found that it didn’t, but it did make him feel depressed, anxious, upset etc so he decided to stop watching it and has been far happier. Obviously the quiz team have now encouraged him to study flags of the world, capital cities and board games so he doesn’t become a dead weight 😉

I have given thought to this idea, as the news can be upsetting; only recently we have seen the sad stories about the horrific fire at Grenfell Tower and the parents anguish over the future of Charlie Gard.  I feel we do need to know about these reports that highlight when things go wrong, as we need to bring about change to prevent such awful situations arising in the future. Even if as an individual we may feel powerless to do anything, such journalism can hold those responsible to account and push those in power to bring about needed change, so I just can’t stop watching the news but I have tried to just catch the main headlines and not let it depress me too much.

I suppose what does annoy me about the news, is the ‘fake’ news that Trump goes on

about. Although I’m not a fan of his, I would agree that there is a lot of rubbish written on social media and other online news outlets that clog up the system.

Just today I looked for a few examples, and the BBC have highlighted 3 such stories that have been going round on social media that are not actually true:

Why people believe the myth of ‘plastic rice’

Why are some Muslims spreading rumours they don’t eat doughnuts?

Beauty queen wearing gloves at orphanage ‘not racist’

It isn’t all doom and gloom and fake news and I am often amused and uplifted by some of the news stories such as:

Unesco awards Lake District World Heritage site status Yes England has it’s own ‘wonder of the world’ at last!

So I suppose the question is how do we keep updated with the news we need to know about and not get dragged down into the realms of rumour and scaremongering.

This is becoming an important skill with it now being suggested that ‘how to spot fake news’ should be taught in schools as the ‘ability to discern fact from fiction is vital’

In research too, information literacy is a key skill, as it is important to be able to evaluate your sources of information.

Information literacyLydia.com provides an online course on Information Literacy

and the library provides Evaluating information and critical thinking that you may find useful with further resources being developed.

So would we be happier without the news? Probably but I’m going to carry on depressing myself anyway 🙂

 

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