The impact of Covid-19 on the media discussed.

The­se days all we hear is bad news, from poli­tics to cli­ma­te chan­ge to the eco­no­my and of cour­se the coro­na­vi­rus. Why is it, that no good news reaches our ears? And is the­re even good news to report?

Nega­ti­vi­ty as stimulation

Well, one pro­blem is that our brains are sim­ply wired to pay more atten­ti­on to unplea­sant news than good news. This is cal­led the “nega­ti­vi­ty bias”, which hel­ped our ances­tors pay more atten­ti­on and react quick­ly in life threa­tening situa­tions, exp­lai­ning the human psy­cho­lo­gi­cal ten­den­cy to remem­ber nega­ti­ve memo­ries over posi­ti­ve memo­ries, sin­ce the­se were usual­ly the more important and cri­ti­cal ones. Now, this nega­ti­vi­ty bias is, of cour­se, used by the media indus­try, sin­ce they want to make the most pro­fit. News agen­ci­es need to stay com­pe­ti­ti­ve and bring out inte­res­ting con­tent con­stant­ly, but good things need time and impro­ve only slow­ly. Bad things hap­pen sud­den­ly, so they are bet­ter in sync with the news cycle. This means that hea­vy news con­su­mers end up mis-cali­bra­ted and irra­tio­nal, esti­ma­ting the fre­quen­cy of an event on how often they read about it. The most popu­lar topics are war and ter­ro­rism, then natu­ral dis­as­ters, poli­tics and crime, with enter­tain­ment and sci­ence attrac­ting the fewest readers.

How to get past the negativity

But all this bad news gets in the way of our hap­pi­ness, well-being and our pro­duc­ti­vi­ty. So how can we get past the nega­ti­vi­ty bias and stop bad news from rui­ning our day? One small chan­ge one can make is not rea­ding bad news in the morning, which auto­ma­ti­cal­ly pulls the mood down for the rest of the day. The big­gest impact on the bad news/good news ratio is the source from whe­re the news is com­ing from. It is very important that one always gets the infor­ma­ti­on from a reli­able source. 

If you want to hear some good news for a chan­ge, the­re are many web­sites with uplif­ting news, that can help build one’s faith and cou­ra­ge up, espe­cial­ly in the­se times. 

Bild mit freund­li­cher Geneh­mi­gung von Pixabay/Andrys Stien­s­tra
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