Mindful Media Consumption

Now that we’ve settled into our third lockdown, keeping up to date with local and worldwide news has become a part-time job in and of itself. Consuming news media used to involve a quiet hour with a cup of tea and a newspaper, rather than an inescapable barrage of notifications from your pocket. While the digital news cycle has become a 24-hour battle for the viewer’s attention, is it possible to consume news and media in a more mindful and positive way?

Mindful Media Consumption - Walker Communications

Mindful Media
Consumption

Rosanna O'Kane
Rosanna O'Kane
Graphic Designer

Now that we’ve settled into our third lockdown, keeping up to date with local and worldwide news has become a part-time job in and of itself. Consuming news media used to involve a quiet hour with a cup of tea and a newspaper, rather than an inescapable barrage of notifications from your pocket. While the digital news cycle has become a 24-hour battle for the viewer’s attention, is it possible to consume news and media in a more mindful and positive way?

It’s easy to let your lunchbreak turn into a demoralizing doom scroll through sensational headlines, updates on a certain ex-president, and never-ending Covid-19 statistics. However, checking the news and engaging with the world around you is an inherently hopeful activity and an attempt to feel connected to local and global communities. Unfortunately, our media feeds often don’t fulfil this need, instead they prioritize quantity over quality, driving clicks, viral sharing and revenue, rather than fostering community and understanding.

Ofcom reported that the percentage of adults getting their news from social media dropped by 4% in 2020, suggesting that as the news has become more relevant to our immediate lives, people are investing more time in news consumption, and looking for alternate sources which meet their needs.

Positive News Trends

While we’ve been tuned into the 24-hour news cycle for years now, 2020 brought a new level of headline oversaturation. This resulted in the rising popularity of unapologetically positive news outlets. American actor John Krasinski started a youtube show titled ‘Some Good News’ during the first lockdown. The eight episodes were an immediate hit, and the light-hearted and funny news broadcast was bought up by CBS for a second season.

Ranging from local to international and serious to silly, there are a range of print and digital news outlets which focus entirely on showcasing hopeful stories. Even the BBC has added a new section to it’s web offering, titled ‘Uplifting Stories’. From developments in medical science, to local heroes and creative ideas, these articles don’t make the normal news cycle, but they do bring a burst of inspiration and delight to your mid-morning coffee break.

@PositiveNewsUK

Positive News describes itself as ‘Good journalism about what’s going right’ and encourages readers to ‘Sign up for hope’. Publishing stories daily online and quarterly in print, this media outlet will keep you up to date with positive developments in Science, Economics, Politics and the Environment.

@TheHappyNewspaper

The Happy Newspaper is published quarterly and brings ‘a refreshing twist on what we typically know as ‘news’, reporting on ‘positive changes and truly inspiring people’. This newspaper is full of colour and illustrations as well as stories from all around the world, of animals avoiding extinction, governments prioritizing their people and individuals making a difference. Perfect for curious kids, or adults who need a little more innocent optimism in their lives.

@GoodNewsNI

If you’re hoping to feel more connected to the community here in Northern Ireland, then Good News NI is the one for you. This Instagram account shares daily snippets of life in NI. Read about local people doing extraordinary work and stories of pure joy despite the current circumstances.

Curated Feeds

Rightly or wrongly, social media has become one of our primary sources for news consumption. Whether you frequent Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or Facebook, make use of the unfollow button! Reading a few quality posts is better than scrolling for hours and taking in very little. Whether your industry is design, marketing, business or finance, follow industry leaders with relevant content rather than fixating on daily Covid-19 updates. You decide what kind of news and knowledge you let onto your feed and into your brain.

@SimplePolitics

Simple Politics on Instagram is the perfect account to follow if you want to stay informed without getting overwhelmed. They provide daily updates on UK politics and global stories and are supported through donations, meaning they don’t answer to advertisers. Their posts are succinct, straight to the point and focus on pure facts. They encourage respectful debate in their comments section so you can get a glimpse of how a range of people feel on any issue, all in one place.


Thoughtful Journalism

@TheAtlantic

Journalistic magazines that feature well-researched and nuanced journalistic articles about current events are a welcome break from angry headlines with little substance. Publications like The Atlantic feature well researched human centered stories which are insightful, nuanced and draw on many perspectives. This kind of deeper engagement with the issues of the world provides a less anxiety-inducing experience of the news. With headlines ranging from ‘The Forgotten People Fighting the Forever War‘ and ‘China’s Leader Attacks His Greatest Threat‘ to ‘What I Learned About Love When I Stopped Being Honest‘, The Atlantic covers a wide range of topics, and forces you to commit some time to understanding a story before coming to any conclusions about it.

Turning off notifications and being intentional about what media you consume can result in a more positive outlook. Investing your time in well written articles which provide nuance, inspiration and information relevant to your industry and interests is a much better way to engage with the outside world than allowing algorithms to control your access to information. Curate your social media feeds to inspire, excite and challenge you in interesting ways and engage with journalistic articles that help you understand the impact of world news on real people. This way you might just be able to avoid the scrolling, and only allow the news to take up time in your day when it is truly enlightening.