What to do when news sucks

By Samantha Minnehan

As a student journalist, it is my job to stay up to date on what is going on in the world. If something big happens I need to know about it so I can either write about it or pitch the lede to others on my team. A lot of the time the biggest news stories tend to be negative. Recently stories of school shootings, deadly viruses, and political unrest have been dominating our news cycles. Most people have heard the saying “all news is bad news,” and in today’s society I can see how the news can get a bad rep. It is also very hard not to be aware of the news with immediate updates at our fingertips due to the rise of smartphones over the last two decades.

Being constantly bombarded with news can be very emotionally draining, and it is important to find ways to stay positive despite how negative the world around us may seem. Being overstimulated by tragedy has almost had a numbing effect. One specific tragedy I have sadly become numb to is mass shootings. The first school shooting I was old enough to remember was Sandy Hook in 2012. I remember crying when I heard about it and calling my mom to make sure the little girl I babysat from Connecticut had not yet started kindergarten there. Over the past three years, I have received notifications on my phone about these shootings, but it has become so commonplace, I no longer shed tears. It is sad to hear about it, but only for a moment and then I have to move on with my day.

 It is easy to become numb to these tragedies despite the fact that they are equally important. It is important to feel emotions about things that happen because you can become numb to the good as well if you don’t have the bad. It is important to find a balance between the two and when the good outweighs the bad on the news cycles sometimes you have to go out of your way to find the good. As a journalist, I have developed practices to help me stay positive despite the negative news cycles 


  • Seek out good news: When the news seems all bad, you may have to go out of your way to find the good. The Today Show has a new series called “ Tell Me Something Good Today” where people send in stories that will make you smile. It is all about people overcoming obstacles and doing incredible things. Whenever I watch it, it is an instant pick me up. I also follow WeRateDogs (@dog_rates) on Twitter which rates puppies doing the cutest things every day. I mean who doesn’t need some puppies on their feed? 
  • Take a tech break: Sometimes the best way to avoid bad news is to simply take a break from technology and enjoy the present. With notifications constantly bombarding our phones with new information, the only way to avoid it may be to put the phone down. I normally take a technology break for at least half a day once a week, normally on Sundays. I take this time to either make myself breakfast, take a yoga class, or enjoy some time outside if the weather is permitting. It is a nice way to take a step back and enjoy the simple things in life. 
  • Stay Active: When in doubt, exercise. No matter if you’re trying to get in better shape, avoid menstrual symptoms or improve your mental well being, exercising is your answer. Exercising releases “feel good chemicals” called endorphins that can improve your mood, make you feel great, and help you stay positive. Not only does exercising release these chemicals, but it is another good excuse to put your phone down for an hour and live in the now. 


At the end of the day, we can’t control what goes on in the world, but we can try our best to seek out the good in life and balance what we can and can’t control. 

Samantha Minnehan can be reached at samantha.minnehan@spartans.ut.edu


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