Don’t Listen to the Media
This article was originally published in October 2016.
If you listen to what traditional media (be it TV, radio, various news outlets, etc.) are reporting, you are going to think we are living in a pretty dystopian world. Turn on the TV and most of what you hear about on the news is about crime, war, natural disasters, and whatever else they are reporting for that day.
I’m taking a class here at Pitt on Media Communications and the main goal of the course is to become media literate. This means being able to access, analyze, evaluate, and create media. So far in the course, we’ve gone over why news outlets report different things, how they make money from us, and how they shape our culture.
I’m not going to go over everything, but I do think the class brings up a ton of great points. Traditional media (made up of 6 main conglomerates) is going to do anything to deliver an audience to advertisers even if that means painting the world in a different light than it really is.
People tend to react and pay attention more to negative/dangerous/harmful things; it’s just how we work. But I don’t think that means we should constantly be inundated with it.
Traditional media is shadowing the positive things that are actually happening in the world. Stories like how life expectancy is at an all-time high, how extreme poverty is at an all-time low, and how the ozone layer is repairing itself.
Before coming to Pitt, I would watch the news every night and my view on the world was much more negative. I only saw the bad things that were happening in the world.
Here at Pitt, I don’t have a TV in my room and I don’t have enough time to read through the daily news articles. Needless to say, my world outlook is much better.
Now the only thing that is shaping my view of the world is the people I’m around, my classes, swim practice, the weather, etc., not something that is happening on the other side of the world.
What I’m ultimately leading up to is that you have to listen to yourself. Don’t rely on someone/something else to shape how you view the world, especially if it is in a negative light. Make your own reality.
I think a lot of the time it’s the people that are unhappy that are making the noise. People complain, argue, or generally just talk about the bad things that happen.
I’m not saying you have to stop listening to the media completely, but do be more cognizant of the stories they are reporting.
I was reading an article about Drew Houston (he’s the Founder/CEO of a company called Dropbox) the other day and he brought up a good point. He says that when he was 24, he came upon a website that said you only have 30,000 days to live so you have to make each day count.
Can you believe that? We only have 30,000 days in our life so you really do have to make the most of each day.
If you are letting even just one day of each week slip away to being in a bad mood or generally not having a good day, that’s over 4200 days by the end of your lifetime.
This world is a great place, don’t let anyone tell you differently. Make the most of each day, we only have 30,000 of them.