Is 24-hour news a good thing?

In our con­nected age, we al­ways know what’s go­ing on around the world.

The Week - Junior - - The Big Debate -

We live dur­ing the most in­ter­con­nected time in hu­man his­tory. We can find out about news from the other side of the world in the blink of an eye, and tele­vi­sion net­works, websites and so­cial me­dia re­port it to us con­stantly. It hasn’t al­ways been this way though. In 1922, the BBC be­gan broad­cast­ing the news on the ra­dio. Be­fore this, peo­ple kept up to date by read­ing a daily news­pa­per. The 20th cen­tury saw a mas­sive in­crease in the sup­ply of news, with jour­nal­ists sta­tioned around the globe re­port­ing on events. The process was made even eas­ier with the in­ter­net. Now, jour­nal­ists can share what’s hap­pen­ing with the click of a but­ton. Do we need to be kept so up to date, or is all this in­for­ma­tion mak­ing us anx­ious?

Yes – 24-hour news keeps us in­formed

With news be­ing re­ported all day, ev­ery day, we can in­stantly see events tak­ing place in coun­tries thou­sands of miles away as well as those that are hap­pen­ing closer to home. Though they may be far away, see­ing and hear­ing about peo­ple’s ex­pe­ri­ences as they hap­pen makes their prob­lems more real and re­lat­able. Also, 24-hour news is use­ful: peo­ple lead busy lives, so it’s a ben­e­fit to be able to pick it up when and where we can – whether glanc­ing at the head­lines on phones, read­ing sto­ries on­line or watch­ing 24-hour news chan­nels. Be­cause it’s rolling con­stantly, we can see sto­ries de­velop as they un­fold. There’s also plenty of time for a va­ri­ety of ex­perts with dif­fer­ent opin­ions.

No – 24-hour news makes peo­ple anx­ious

Be­cause the same news sto­ries are be­ing told over and over again each day, it can some­times feel like the news is all bad. Wars, famine and nat­u­ral dis­as­ters are al­ways in the head­lines, and con­stant ex­po­sure to these trau­matic events can make it seem as though noth­ing is go­ing well. This isn’t true. Re­search shows that we’re cur­rently liv­ing in the most peace­ful time in hu­man his­tory. Also, 24-hour news can be mis­lead­ing; in a rush to break new sto­ries, jour­nal­ists don’t give them time to de­velop, and some­times they make mis­takes. The need to fill 24 hours with news can lead to sto­ries be­ing sen­sa­tion­alised to keep peo­ple in­ter­ested, too.

Peo­ple just feel anx­ious with 24-hour news.

Broad­cast­ers work around the clock.

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