Why no news is good news

I had a terrible day. Switching our driver’s licenses wasn’t as easy as we thought it would be. Three times we went to the ministry of transportation office and three times we were told that there was more we had to do. However, the fourth trip was the charm. We came away sanctioned to navigate Ontario roads. My stomach tightens when I think of all the discussions and kilometers required just to satisfy one smiling government agent.

Finally, we where back home. I switched the TV on to a news station while scanning the headlines in the daily paper. There was a lot going on: shootings, car accidents, fluctuations in the stock market, political scandals; someone had even identified a new flue virus. On the world stage the UN and others were trying to work out problems in the Ukraine, North Korea and Syria.  I went to bed full of news.

Sleep didn’t come easy. When I wasn’t dreaming about the news I was lying awake thinking about it. My little boy woke me up at six. He was hungry. Instead of pondering the condition of the world while my baby emptied his bottle, I pulled out my mentor’s magazine and read an article about a Frenchman trying his luck during the great depression in America.

He was an immigrant who opened and operated his wine shop during the worst, when businesses around him were suffering or going into receivership. His shop flourished and after a few years he opened up a second and then a third one.

Local VIP’s and press were invited when he celebrated his 25th anniversary. A reporter asked him: “You opened up a shop during the great depression and even expanded it when other businesses were failing. What is your secret?” He was quiet for a moment and then answered: “When I came to America I couldn’t read English, so I didn’t know there was a depression.”

This wasn’t the answer I expected. I grew up with news being the main topic at our dinner table, family gatherings, and any other time conversation needed a boost. And it was usually bad news.

Newspapers and TV stations know that people are drawn to spectacular events, the more horrendous, the more we watch. However, this little story shows what affect bad news has on people. If they hear things are bad, then they are. If they don’t hear how bad things are, often they don’t have to be.

Would I open a new business in the middle of the depression? Probably not. But do I need to know all the bad going on in the world in order to plan my future? Definitely not. Fear breeds fear. FDR said it best: “We have nothing to fear, but fear itself.” Is it necessary to feed ourselves with this kind of information every day? Is it helpful to be afraid of the future based on the fear mongering of broadcasters and newspapers?

Do you want to see how less news can improve your outlook? Stay away from it for a week. Write down how you feel at the beginning and then again at the end. I would love to hear your results. As for me, there’ll be a lot less news on my dinner plate. I’m going to spend more time looking forward to the future instead of fearing it.

Yours, Sebastian


Always remember #BEGOOD

15 thoughts on “Why no news is good news

  1. Dear Sebastian,
    As I was initially drawn to your blog due to you liking my post, I found myself very intrigued by this entry.
    I, myself, chose to not watch the news. It always depresses me. I also find it rather lavish in some ways, the production and screening that goes into it is a conspiracy in itself. I get most of my news from resources such as newspapers and internet pages (although, you cant trust those all the time either). It is, as you stated, the horrendous events that get the most “ratings” on the tube these days.
    Every now and then, on major news channels, you can find a legitimate news post on the scrolling banner located at the bottom of the screen, only to be shown once and then lost forever.
    Hopefully one day, in an ideal world, the news will be watched, more-so for positive “breaking stories” rather than the horrendous ones.

  2. Bad news seems to get the eyeballs, war depression, arson, rape, murder, suicide bombing, bad weather forecasts, floods, tsunamis earthquakes…. normal is boring going by the press, so better to read a book or watch a movie or listen to uplifting music!

  3. I never watch the news and rarely read it, when I do, it usually always depresses me, so I choose not to subject myself to negativity and I get along just fine without it all. Enjoyed reading your post. Thanks

  4. This is so absolutely true. I decided a few years ago that the news was dragging me down. I decided to eliminate it from my daily diet. My hubby said you can’t stick your head in the sand. My reply is that I don’t have to go out of my way to see the news because it’s always right there in front of you. I get enough of it just hopping online or seeing newspaper headlines at the checkout. No thanks! Enough is enough! And, yes, I do know what’s happening all around in spite of not seeking it out.

  5. Sebastian, I like your photos, esp rusty chain, great capture of colours too. Neither myself or my children watch or read the news and haven’t done for several years. We are no worse off and I think my kids are better off not hearing the horrors of the world played out at constantly in their living spaces. The news makes us fearful of people and places and activities and I believe adds to a general anxiety of the population. It does nothing for world peace and harmony and getting along with our neighbour. Thanks for checking our my photo.

  6. “No news is good news” can be interpreted 2 ways. Either, it is good news to have no news or there is no news that is good news. Personally, I treat news as information. It is a series of facts. But not often happy facts. Media outlets that have tried to broadcast only good news have seen their ratings plummet. So, i hear it but don’t really listen to it. And my life decisions aren’t ruled by it.

  7. I was thinking the very same thing tonight as I watched the news. There’s violence, people rioting, kidnapping, planes crashing, countries with failing economies … my head hurt trying to keep up. I’m sure there is positive news that can be shared just as much, so the question is why does death and pain and disaster keep so many of us riveted to the news channels? Time out!

  8. Good comment. When we moved to North Cyprus from Australia, we had no TV for 2 months and never looked back. I used to be a news junkie now but seldom bother, although I check out independent news outlets. Nice to come across your blog and thanks for visiting mine.

  9. This year we moved to Chile. Our TV is seldom turned on. If we want to watch something we stream movies. I can’t say that I’ve missed it. The last time we watched the news was when the Valparaiso fire was burning. We needed to know if we would have a place to go to teach the next day. If I want news I seek it out on the internet. Typically I’m only interested in the news from an investment perspective. Everything else is just noise.

    And thanks for liking some of my posts. Cheers, Wooly

  10. Exactly!!!!! I have found myself feeling impotent, hopeless and depressed. At one time in my life, when I had the energy, I wanted to start a small paper that had nothing but good news in it. Someone told me it wouldn’t sell, I told them…it wouldn’t BE for sale 🙂

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