Millions of people buy a daily newspaper, but to be truthful, it likely does not do most people much good. Most newspapers are not news (they are just biased printings of gossip, adverts and more adverts, along with results of racing (has welfare issues) and and perhaps the TV schedules, fake horoscopes and a bit of sport.
The sensitive souls among us who can’t even watch the TV news, likely don’t find much joy in newspapers either. While others may see an article or read something heartbreaking then forget about it, the rest of us then go to pieces, empaths imagining the suffering of others. Of course the papers will argue that they have responsibility to publish the news, in order to inform. But you’ll get far better information from citizen-funded weekly newspapers or online sources, and this produces more constructive ways to help, rather than giving to big funding charities that often don’t make best use of donations anyway.
Not reading newspapers (or watching rolling news) does not mean that you don’t know what’s going on. As someone rightly said, if we are at war – someone will likely tell you. Swiss thinker Rolf Dobelli gave up reading the news years ago, and has never looked back. He asks you – out of all the thousands of news items you have read in the last year – which have done you any good – or helped others? Likely none of them. Far better instead to educate yourself by reading good books, then donating to small charities that help, of your own choosing. Your life will also be quieter and more peaceful. And as we all know, the only way to world peace, is for us to find inner peace.
The newspapers also never explain. You may read about the war on cancer, countries bombing each other, high crime rates and political arguments like ‘economic growth’. But do you actually understand any of them? If the answer is no, this is not because you’re stupid. It’s because ‘soundbites’ never tell the whole story. Why are our cancer and crime rates so high (there are valid reasons). Why is economic growth ‘old politics’ and why do journalists never ask MPs why they keep banging on about it? Because newspapers (and TV channels) are sponsored by industry, who would pull funding if they asked questions that we want answered. Nearly all newspapers in England are owned by a few super-rich families.
If you do want to read a newspaper, here are a few better ones. They’re not daily. But they won’t give you a nervous breakdown by reading them, so you can enjoy reading them again and again, then pass them onto others:
Byline Times is a wonderful newspaper (that you can read online or subscribe to for paper copies), and it also has its own TV news show. Strongly endorsed by Hugh Grant (who you may remember was livid when he found out he had been tapped by newspapers), another similar good indie newspaper is Canary, owned by a workers coop.
The Happy Newspaper is ideal, if you like to hear about the good being done. It’s packed with good news stories from across the world, and there is also a free version for schools. In the US, Good Newspaper is a similar idea, founded by a man who was inspired by a quote from Fred Rogers, who said ‘ Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping’.
The Friend magazine is more a weekly newspaper from the Quakers (often called ‘western Buddhists’, this religion broke away from the Church of England to campaign for peace, environment, animal welfare and prison reform. The latest article covers calls for a ceasefire in Ukraine, the upcoming general election, gender-based violence, modern slavery and fundraising for a peace garden.
News stories are overwhelmingly about things you cannot influence. It grinds us down and I would not be surprised if news consumption at least partially, contributes to the widespread cause of depression. I don’t know a single truly creative mind who is a news junkie. I know a bunch of viciously uncreative minds who consume news like drugs. If you want to come up with old solutions, read news. If you are looking for new solutions, don’t. Rolf Dobelli