How does media affect your day-to-day life if you were to break it down?
From the alerts on our smartphone (already here when we open our eyes in the morning) to our Facebook or Twitter feeds (often the last things we check before going to bed), we don’t even need to buy the newspaper or own a TV to follow the news. But where does our news come from, and how biased is it? The media is a fascinating topic.
A little history: the first Irish newspaper was published in 1685 under the name The News-Letter. Printed in Dublin, it consisted, according to the Dublin City Public Libraries, of a ‘half-sheet folio printed on both sides and ‘devoted to foreign affairs and political intelligence’. Oh, how the landscape of the media has changed since that time…
Working in the industry, my day-to-day interaction with the press, TV and radio might be a bit different than yours. But it didn’t use to be.
For example, for a long time, I did not want to get notifications on my phone, wanting to protect myself from an overflow of information.
I was following the advice of not being addicted to the news because the news is anxiety-inducing.
I used to turn on the news on the radio in the morning for as long as it was taking me to prepare and eat breakfast. The radio was more of background noise than something I was really listening to. I used to read the news every other day, and not always in detail. I was drawn to the topics that held a personal interest and tended to disregard the other ones, a common mistake. I was catching up with the news a bit on the weekends with the Sunday papers, a family tradition. But those papers are expensive and getting them delivered to your door is not a very ‘millennial’ thing to do. I was wondering if you also watch the news more when you are with your family? Does the familiarity of the end-of-the-day news program ring a bell?
A few years back I familiarized myself with Herman and Chomsky’s book Manufacturing Consent. If you are interested in the topic of the media, I consider this book must-read. Have you noticed the graffiti in Galway? That’s from the book.
Now, I read more independent media, and I am more aware of the issue of press freedom. Maybe you’re more inclined towards a small, independent media outlet than a big one? Do you prefer turning to Reuters, the AFP or other news agencies for information on world events? Or do you have time to watch, listen or read both?
Now imagine for a minute that your main source of information stopped being available to you: what would you do, and to which other one would you turn to? We quickly grow accustomed to our favourite TV reporter, a sympathetic voice in our ear, or the style of our go-to newspaper.
I have also, for a long time, been suspicious of the news appearing on your Facebook feed. Know your sources, if I can allow myself to give you some piece of advice…
Without preamble, I will say that podcasts are a fantastic way to stay informed on what exactly is going on: not just the new news but the in-depth explanations of that news. I love them.
But anyway, now that I work in the media, the news is coming to me constantly and you know what? Sometimes you really just need to disconnect.