Back in the Dark and Middle Ages, information about neighboring towns and communities was carried by troubadours and town criers. While it is true that the lack of breaking news lead to a lack of current information about possible threats or other troubling situations, it may have also allowed townspeople a so-called false sense of security. Those who lived out in the countryside or wilderness may have never gotten the opportunity to catch up in the latest news and gossip. However, with the advent of the printing press and later, the telegraph, citizens were given the opportunity to become informed more quickly about both impending threats and current events.
It is true that having pertinent information in a timely manner can indeed be beneficial. It allows both government agencies and ordinary citizens the opportunity to prepare for upcoming events and to change polices in order to respond to the world around them. But is there a darker side to the constant bombardment of breaking news? In many aspects, I believe the answer is yes.
Before September 11, 2001, the majority of Americans could tune into their evening or morning news hours and walk away sufficiently prepared for their day ahead. If there were breaking developments, then the local radio and broadcast stations would interrupt and inform the country that there were important events developing in either world or US News. This was usually and effective means of disseminating important information. However, after the Gulf War in the early 1990’s cable news stations began broadcasting 24-hours a day in order to keep Americans abreast of the latest developments. This constant stream of news only increased in intensity and urgency after 9/11.
These news outlets now run a constant ticker along the bottom of their screens so that we can watch one story while keeping our eyes on the breaking news along the bottom of the screen. Add to this information overload the ability of our phones to ping us on breaking stories and we are now at a tipping point for information overload. We are in a heightened state of awareness no matter the time of day. This constant deluge of information and breaking news bulletins are taking a toll in many ways on society.
There is a constant undercurrent of stress that now runs through our daily lives. We are reminded regularly that there is a threat of terrorism, mass shootings and deadly viruses that are waiting to attack us and our loved ones at any moment. Along with the efforts from media sources to keep us ever-informed, there are the few unbalanced individuals who take the latest story about a mass killing and decide to try and top the numbers of victims. In addition, our children walk around either immune to all of the danger around them or so anxious about impending disaster that they cannot focus on actually living their lives.
So, when it comes to breaking news, maybe it would be advantageous if we could turn down the volume, take a loved one’s hand and go for a walk, at least now and then.
Writer Bio: Angela Mose
I am a mom of 7 who has successfully homeschooled for 20 years. I was married for more than 25 years and have recently started my life over. I have a passion for writing and music and when the two can be combined, it is utopia. A Maryland native, I am planning to relocate north in the near future and will continue to strive to learn and experience new things on a regular basis. I am fortunate enough to be able to work from home while exploring new ways to increase my knowledge and skills and help improve the lives of those around me.