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Devendra's Log

Bad news

Bad News

I am drowning in bad news, and I am quite sure you are too. I have stopped reading newspapers to avoid bad news. I have stopped watching TV for the same reason. It has made me less worry-prone. That does not mean bad news is passe. Bad stuff keeps happening, not watching it is not making it go away.

Bad news from far far away

Increasingly, much of our news is from far far away. Bad news comes in different shapes and sizes, and media shenanigans have a bigger and badder set of news to choose from. Far away bad news is almost as instantaneously available as bad news around the corner. That has made the quality and proportion of bad news quite depressive.

Too many deaths closer to home

That does not means there is no bad news closer to home. Let me state some sordid statistics. In 2010 Recife reported 187 homicides for every 100,000 inhabitants. Greater Recife has a population of about 4 million, so that translates to more than 7,000 homicides in a single year. Pernambuco, the state that Recife is capital of, reported 1,920 deaths in traffic accidents. And that is just the tip of the iceberg for bad news.

Social networking

My solution

My solution has been to adopt social networking. I only read bad news reported, and considered important, by my immediate contacts in Facebook, and other social networks. I don’t care to get the news first-hand from the traditional media. I trust my network will get me the most relevant news. So far, it has worked. It allows me to focus better on the good news. I’d rather read about birth and marriage, than death and sickness.

I haven’t completely given up on traditional media, I focus on my interests. In my case, it means reading the technology and science news sections. Since it is harder to do that with TV, I have practically abandoned that medium for news.