Ignoring news may make you happier, but will that make you wiser?

Monday, 22 April, 2013

It seems a lot like keeping one’s head in the sand to me, but Rolf Dobelli, writing for The Guardian suggests, for the sake of our well being, that we should cease listening to, watching, or reading, news bulletins. After all, what difference does most, or all news, make anyway?

Out of the approximately 10,000 news stories you have read in the last 12 months, name one that – because you consumed it – allowed you to make a better decision about a serious matter affecting your life, your career or your business. The point is: the consumption of news is irrelevant to you. But people find it very difficult to recognise what’s relevant. It’s much easier to recognise what’s new. The relevant versus the new is the fundamental battle of the current age. Media organisations want you to believe that news offers you some sort of a competitive advantage. Many fall for that. We get anxious when we’re cut off from the flow of news. In reality, news consumption is a competitive disadvantage. The less news you consume, the bigger the advantage you have.

Madeleine Bunting, meanwhile, also writing for The Guardian, begs to differ, arguing that keeping up with current affairs is essential, and consumption of news is all about moderation. Couldn’t disagree with that.

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