You Are What You Read
You Are What You Read

You Are What You Read

Table of Contents

Does the media create or reflect opinion? Is the media a commercial enterprise that is led by profitability, or a noble one led by integrity? Does it report news that is in the interest of the public, or in the interest of its own success? What are the consequences of reporting such a negative picture of the world? (Location 73)

Tags: media, news

Note: .news .media

I found this deeply worrying; the information we consume through the news becomes our basis for understanding the world. This then creates a filter through which we see things and influences how we feel, talk about and respond to global, local and even personal challenges. The overwhelmingly negative and sensationalised information I was getting from the news appeared excessively confrontational in its tone and it made me feel like the world was going down the drain and there was nothing I could do about it, except for switch off from it all together. (Location 84)

Tags: news

Note: .news the news shapes how we understand and view the world

By having a more rounded narrative in my media diet that included a healthy balance of problems and solutions, I instead felt energised (Location 109)

Tags: news

Note: .news explore the news about how people are solving the problems covered in traditional media

by reporting on problems without reporting progress alongside it, it creates a lack of context, an imbalance and an excess where negative news reporting has moved from being helpful to becoming harmful. The hypocrisy seemed absurd to me: news organisations that pride themselves on shining a light on the world’s ills have have actually been contributing to those ills as no one is shining a light on them. (Location 118)

Tags: negative, news

Note: .news .negative news report on issues but not the progress being made

Well, food is to the body what information is to the mind. The information that we imbibe will turn into emotions, thoughts, actions and behaviours. The consequences are less visible but just as potent. The news is one of the most powerful and most negative streams of information we inescapably consume. Watching the news affects our mood, our beliefs, our understanding of the world, our relationship to other people and our politics, but its impact remains largely unquestioned by the consumers who are affected by its content. (Location 135)

Tags: news

Note: .news food is to the body as information is to the mind

who has the time to cross-reference each news story to gain different perspectives and analyse all the information to be able to draw our own conclusion? In our fast-paced daily lives, this kind of news consumption fits in well: we like to ‘know’ what is going on in the world so we are not caught off guard for being ignorant, and one source is more than enough at any given time for most people to feel they have a sense of what is going on. (Location 146)

Note: We dont have time to cross reference the news we consume

I use the word fed because of the somewhat inescapable nature of the news. Its presence is so well established that it has become a natural part of our democratic lives. It is a sizeable force that, in theory, helps society work together by informing citizens on national and international affairs, thus enabling people to act on this information. Its most prestigious purpose is holding power to account to ensure that corruption, exploitation and abuses of power are kept at bay. It is so well stitched into the fabric of our society that we can find ourselves (to varying degrees) forming opinions without really knowing why we think what we think. This is because the news is an invisible but powerful influence on our thoughts, telling us not only what to think about (by deciding what is reported) but also how to think about it (through news frames and organisational bias). Because we habitually mimic the views of the news we watch or read, these stories shape our knowledge, beliefs and opinions. (Location 154)

There is no precise definition of the news; however, there seems to be a common offering among the available descriptions: news is considered to be the publishing of new and notable information through public broadcasts with the purpose of engaging and informing citizens6 in a way that empowers them to be able to act on the information presented.7 The American Press Institute embraces this by defining the ultimate role of the news is to ‘empower the informed’. (Location 194)

Tags: news

by selectively reporting on mostly negative events, we come to perceive the world through a troubled lens and have a distorted understanding of reality. This distorted understanding, rather than reality itself, can then determine public opinion. (Location 323)

Tags: news

Note: .news the media selects what to report and it is mostly negative. This influences our perception of the world

As Houdini famously said, ‘What the eyes see and the ears hear, the mind believes.’ In contrast to this, what the eyes don’t see and the ears don’t hear, our mind will never know; you cannot see what you have not been shown. You cannot hear what you have not been told. You cannot understand what has not been explained, and you cannot know what is happening in parts of the world that have been left off the news agenda. While I am not reducing the news to merely an informational illusion, it is important to note that we are presented with a version of reality that is created to sell newspapers. (Location 374)


The statistics show that nearly 1.3 million people die in road crashes each year – on average 3,287 deaths a day. An additional 20–50 million are injured or disabled. Road traffic accidents rank as the ninth leading cause of death and account for 2.2 per cent of all deaths globally.8 By comparison, deaths from plane crashes totalled 303 in 2016 and just 79 in 2017. (Location 538)

Tags: favorite, cars

Note: .cars

The reporting of the extraordinary is so ingrained in the news industry that when defining what the news is at its most basic level, journalists will say that the news is not ‘dog bites man’ but ‘man bites dog’ – that is, a dog biting a man is a relatively common occurrence, so it isn’t news, but a man biting a dog is unusual, and therefore news. This perfectly captures the tendency for news stories to be about events that are infrequent, unusual and negative. (Location 545)

Tags: news

Note: .news the news reports on extraordinary events


The real threat to the news industry, therefore, is not an increasingly disinterested public or declining audience numbers. Instead it is a threat from within, as news organisations cheapen the quality and credibility of their product to maintain their profits. (Location 732)


The news is not, in fact, a reflection of everything that goes on in the world, it is a reflection of everything that goes wrong in the world. — C. John Sommerville (Location 821)

Tags: negative, news

Note: .news .negative

We know that the news predominantly reports the problems of the world, from systemic social issues of poverty and inequality to individual petty crime, with very little to comfort the reader. We accept that these are the types of stories we expect to hear from the news. This expectation has become so entrenched in the news industry that a television news programme can have ‘more images of violence, suffering and death in a half hour than most people would normally view in a lifetime’. (Location 851)

Tags: news, negative

Note: .negative .news the news predominantly reports the probems of the world


solutions journalism is not speculation or wishful thinking; it reports on real responses to the problems we are facing. Furthermore, these solutions are not blindly praised, but are investigated critically to help us make sense of them. We can ask questions like, is it working? How is it being done? What are the limitations? Is it scalable? Can we learn anything from the solutions being implemented? If they are failing, what is the problem? (Location 1142)

solutions journalism; I define it to be ‘rigorous journalism that reports critically on tangible progress being made in order for us to understand how issues are being dealt with’. (Location 1155)

The advocacy of solutions journalism is based on the assumption that:   1. Knowledge is better than ignorance 2. Balance is better than bias 3. To be included in and actively participate in one’s nation is better than being isolated from it 4. Social cohesion is better than division 5. Inspiration is an important part of development (Location 1159)


Christopher Peterson, the late psychology professor at the University of Michigan, known for his research on character strengths, advises that ‘people should be optimistic when the future can be changed by positive thinking but not otherwise’.9 Optimism therefore should not be blindly applied to a situation as a guarantee for a desirable outcome. (Location 1415)

Tags: optimism

Note: Be positive when the future can be changed by positive thinking


There is no denying that having a news industry that asks the challenging questions, highlights our failures, exposes corruption and scandal, makes us aware of problems and holds power to account in a democratic society is a good thing. The problem created by this kind of reporting comes from having too much of it. (Location 1510)

Tags: news

Note: .news exposes corruption and scandal


Whoever controls the media controls the mind. — Jim Morrison (Location 1653)

Tags: media

Note: .media

In less democratic nations, the media has been used politically to maintain the legitimacy of the government or state and to try and increase public support. It often violates the sanctions of freedom of information, replaced instead with censorship and control. (Location 1667)

Tags: propaganda

Note: .propaganda


There are six effective ways we can change our media diet in a way that will help us become more informed, engaged and empowered:   1. Become a conscious consumer 2. Read/watch good-quality journalism 3. Burst your filter bubble 4. Be prepared to pay for content 5. Read beyond the news 6. Read solutions-focused news (Location 1794)

Tags: news, media

Note: .media .news

The race to the top of search engines has inadvertently led to a race to the bottom in terms of quality journalism. Stories are decided on based on their ‘traffic potential, revenue potential, turnaround time and at the bottom of the list editorial quality’. (Location 1871)

Tags: news

Note: .news the need to publish more frequently leads to lower quality journalism

Thomas Jefferson, the third US president and leading author of the Declaration of Independence, said, ‘The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.’ I would have to agree. (Location 1966)

Tags: news

Note: .news