Why Some People Avoid News: NiemanLab

The internet gives people access to more news from around the globe than ever before. The supply of troubling news is never-ending, and news avoidance is on the rise, reports Joshua Benton for NiemanLab at Harvard University. A 2017 study found the leading reason for avoidance is news triggering bad moods followed by worries that reports are untrue. Anecdotal reports suggest many people regard following the news a chore that increases stress levels; many depend on friends to relay key current events. Others express frustration about a lack of control over politics and leaders failing to solve major problems. “News consumption used to be about daily habits — reading the paper every morning, watching the 6 o’clock news every night,” Benton concludes. “Now it seeps into our days as much or as little as we want it to. Civically useful journalism is competing with every other form of media, content, or diversion on your phone.” A free press, an ongoing flow of information and criticism, is a pillar of democracy; understanding community and global issues helps people become better citizens, managers and investors; and critical reading is useful. Citizens should engage with favorite news sources and may be surprised by how much editors want to hear from them. – YaleGlobal

Why Some People Avoid News: NiemanLab

Distrust of the news industry may be a smaller problem than how news reports leave readers stressed, anxious, depressed, afraid, disempowered and exhausted
Joshua Benton
Saturday, July 13, 2019

Read the article from NiemanLab about the rise of news avoidance among citizens worldwide.

Joshua Benton is director of the Nieman Journalism Lab. Before spending a year at Harvard as a 2008 Nieman Fellow, he spent a decade in newspapers, most recently at The Dallas Morning News.

(Source: Survey by Digital News Report, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and University of Oxford, 2019)

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