When news is just a zap of adrenaline

How much are we, as news consumers, responsible for the permanent news craze that seems to overwhelm us more and more? Until recently, I had completely forgotten about the term “news junkie” and the pride I used to take in calling myself that. The phrase surfaced again in a recent column entrepreneur Steven Rosenbaum published on Forbes.

In Too Much News ? he makes several compelling points – a lot of which I agree with.

1. Technology allows us to push more and more information faster and faster:

Is there really ‘more’ news than there was ten years ago – or are there just more ways to get your “breaking news”  zap of adrenaline?.

2. Like any good pusher man, news organizations know how to trick us into asking for more:

My email is full of reports like: “Well Known CBS Star Arrested”  –  with only one action required. “Who?”  I’m supposed to wonder and click the link.

3. More information makes us less informed:

Today I have trouble keeping track of the shootings. Schools and colleges, movie theaters and wedding parties. Politicians on the corner, or criminals in Times Square. Each story is presented with breaking news headlines, and powerfully scary urgency. But with a lack of context, or perspective, the shear volume of ‘breaking’ stories all meld together – and solutions seem harder to comprehend.

There is good news however. At least if you’re in the business of creating content. Indeed, Steven Rosenbaum believes that in this world, the need for good filters is greater than ever. “Those organizers – journalists – are going to beat algorithms all day lone“, he writes.

I would add: this works only if you’re actually… a news junkie! Addicted enough to news to get through the trouble of seeking out the right curators, filters, human organizers. I fear that the vast majority of users, not that hooked, will just give up on being well-informed altogether.

[via The Bureau]

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