And Now for the News

10 Apr 2003
April 10, 2003

Every morning I wake up earlier than I need to in order to give myself some quiet time with the morning paper. For the last two days, though, the Post hasn’t come until I was just about ready to leave for work. So I had to resort to reading junk mail and computer catalogs over my morning coffee and oatmeal.

This morning I bought a paper as I walked to the office. After perusing it, I was shocked to discover the latent effects early morning news reading has had over me. It wasn’t until I started thumbing through the front section I discovered how depressed I get when reading headlines at the crack of dawn. It hit me right between the eyes. I was actually in a good mood before I took a peek. Now I know why.

The preponderance of negative media stories isn’t news. I rarely watch the nightly news programs after a long day at work. Instead I make myself a gin and tonic and turn on Nickelodeon for some brighter, more colorful escapist fare. But after today’s discovery I was curious just how many negative hits I was getting each morning.

I grouped each story into one of three categories: Depressing (those that made me want to hide, go back to bed, or simply sigh with some resignation), Interesting from a “wait and see” point of view, and Relieved/Uplifting (articles that made me feel good to be a human). Of course, the more depressing stories appear either in the front section or the Metro section (which I often call the Death and Destruction section for its overabundance of grizzly murder and auto accident stories). But in this interrelated and overlapping world, many also appear in the Business part of the paper.

Please don’t read each of these articles. Don’t do it! I just wanted to see what a condensed listing would look like now that I am aware of the root cause of my morning duldrums. I don’t need to have anyone more depressed than necessary.

Depressing

Interestingly, the fall of Baghdad seems to have completely pushed SARS out of today’s edition. I can’t find one article about the deadly disease. Perhaps I should have listed this under Relieved/Uplifting but I don’t think its eradication is the reason for the Post’s silence on the subject.

Interesting from a “Wait and See” POV

Relieved/Uplifting

  • All articles like these on yesterday’s fall of Baghdad. The fall of tyranny, no matter how unclear the future is, is something to be celebrated.

• • •

I had the pleasure of meeting Rebecca Blood and Jesse James Garrett at Barnes and Noble yesterday. Each was discussing their recent books on weblogs and user-centered web design. The subjects had some overlap for me and meeting people face-to-face with whom you’ve previously only communicated with online is great. Connecting with intelligent and interesting cognoscenti is definitely the antidote for bad news days!

I’m taking some time off so postings may be sporadic or non-existent for the next week.

2 replies
  1. Kate S. says:

    I gave up on the news, both on t.v. and in print way back in high school when I learned how “twisted” it can be. By the time we get it lodged into our brains the news has been so manipulated by numbers, politics, governmental coersion, and un-biased reporters, that the difficulties “embedded” in decifering and reading between the lines, make it a futile effort, at best. And talk about depressing?!!!
    Yeah, g & t and Nickelodeon. Perfect for your longevity and mental health. Cheers!

  2. Nina says:

    Those of us with chronic and/or debilitating illnesses are often told not to read, watch or listen to the news. That’s difficult to avoid living in the Washington, DC area where –even news-free — I can feel the effect as almost an “aura” from other people. Right now is one of those times, and also during the sniper shootings last fall (I was in PA during that time, but still, people were talking about it.)

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