A focus on the news
By Kerstin Felton
Currently, many people will be focusing on the news due to the developing situation with coronavirus.
In many ways, we are fortunate that the news is so easily accessible – on television, the radio, in print and directly through our mobile phones.
However, it is important to understand that what news we consume can affect us and those around us.
Here are some things to consider…
What is ‘Fake News’?
I’m sure it is a term which many are familiar with, but what does it actually mean?
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, ‘Fake News’ refers to fabricated stories that often appear to be news, and which are usually spread on the internet or other mediums for the purpose to influence political views or as a joke.
‘Fake News’ is very easy to create, and I am sure that many have seen one or more instances of it on social media. The unfortunate problem with ‘Fake News’ is that due to the current situation with coronavirus, many people are helping to spread misinformation about the virus to others which can cause confusion, mistrust, anxiety and more.
It’s very easy to share something with your friends, family and loved ones, and you may be thinking you are helping them by sharing this new information with them, but before doing so here are some things you should ask yourself.
Where did this come from?
Reliable news always has a source or always comes from a trustworthy source.
For instance, medical advice should always refer to evidence, such as a medical report or investigation, or refer to credible medical organisations such as the NHS or the World Health Organisation (WHO).
One way to check if the information provided in a news article is correct is to do your research. Can you find the source of the information? Are they a trustworthy or reliable person/ organisation?
Always check and if you’re unsure, don’t share it.
Has it been reported anywhere else?
Following on from this, you can always check if something is accurate by seeing if others are reporting about it.
If you cannot find organisations such as BBC reporting on it, then it may not be true.
Is all the information provided true and accurate?
A lot of information that is being put out on the internet may seem true because some of the content that has been written can be accurate.
Make sure to fully read, listen to or watch what you’re sharing before sending it to others.
If not all the information provided has not been confirmed by WHO, the NHS or other medical/education institutions, don’t send it to others.
Does it make me emotional?
Most of the medical or government advice that you read is usually very matter-of-fact and is not intended to make you emotional.
Facts are facts – they do not need to be sensationalised for them to be true.
For the most up-to-date, accurate information about COVID-19, you should always check the following websites:
The News and your Wellbeing
The downside to having access to news 24/7 is that this can influence your personal wellbeing or the wellbeing of people around you.
It is important to understand how your emotions may be affected by the news you consume.
Personally, I don’t want to watch, read or listen to the news all day as I know it will either make me sad or annoyed. That’s why I’ve implemented a rule to only watch or read the news for half an hour in the morning and in the evening.
Some other tips you can follow to look after yourself is:
- Write down your thoughts. Before going to bed, why not write down how everything you’ve learned from the news has made you feel. Sometimes it can be therapeutic to get your thoughts, feelings and emotions down on paper. It can give you clarity into how a story may have affected you.
- Don’t be afraid to tell others you don’t want to discuss a subject. If you find that people are talking to you a subject you do not want to discuss, and you know that can influencing your wellbeing – don’t be afraid to tell them that you don’t want to talk about that.
- Check out other resources for positive news or news which isn’t being widely reported. It can be good to have balance and to read about things which may not be widely reported. For instance, I enjoy reading articles from National Geographic as this covers topic more related to nature and animals.
In a time where news is easy accessible, easily sharable and can be all consuming, remembering these tips can help you and those around you.
Kerstin is the Communications Assistant at Big C.