How much does what “news” has become, influence our future? Can we do better? Turns out we can fix the problem with news!

As you all know, the United States has just struggled through an election to bring either the first woman or the first person with no history of public service, to the most powerful office on the planet.

Either outcome would have been remarkably historic, but what important news did we miss by devoting so much air-time to politics for more than a year?

Did we celebrate any of the great innovations, discoveries or positive things that happened? Rarely, if ever.

So today, we dive in to try to sort this problem out.

I wrote this article on election night and promised myself not to touch it, no matter the outcome, because I wanted to present the following remarkable videos without bias. They tell us more about ourselves than we might ever be able to acknowledge.

First up, let’s take an interesting journey through time. I found a very concise, 5-minute video that will get us all up to speed on the history of “news” when it all started, a few hundred years ago.

I’m fairly well-educated and yet I had no idea this was the trajectory of things!

See what you think…It’s a little esoteric, but stay with it. I found this video from the Future Journalism Project Media Lab to be a nice little starting point for the main insights in today’s article!

It’s important to know how we all got into this mess we are in with our various news sources.

Really an interesting trajectory, huh?

So, now we are all news-makers, making news one-to-one! Sounds exciting, until you think about the responsibility inherent in that capability. Where does personal responsibility work it’s way into this new landscape?

And “truth?” When do we all start doing our homework a little? Do any of us actually check our facts before prattling on about something on Facebook?

Maybe this next quote from the respected Forbes Magazine gives us the scope of things:

“Nearly two-thirds of American adults – 62%– get news from a social media site, according to a new survey from Pew Research Center.”

EWC Life Hack Tip:  It is incredibly easy to just hop over to Snopes.com and check the actual backstory to anything you hear on “the news”. Really! I suspect I do that a few times every single day. It takes seconds. 

I can’t tell you how many times Snopes has saved me from publishing articles about things that were too good to be true.

Check it out some time. You’ll be the smartest person in the room forever after because you’ll have the backstory on half-truths!

Ok, let’s move on the real meat of this subject with one of the most revealing TED Talks out there. After I saw it for the first time, I felt like an insider. I watched my favorite news channels with fresh eyes.

Here’s something new to consider:

In doing the research for this article I learned something that is critical to finding our way forward: journalism has morphed into two very distinct formats.

Now there’s something called “narrative journalism” that is being confused with real journalism.

Real “journalists” work very hard NOT to telegraph their opinions. They have to look unbiased because they are trying to sell advertising to everyone, not alienate some people who might not return tomorrow. In mainstream media, the appearance of bias is very bad business.

Image: Protest at Egyptian Embassy, Washington, DC

Source: Ted Eytan // Flickr

But “narrative journalism” is different. They only intend to appeal to a certain group of people. It’s easy to recognize “narrative journalism” for it has a definite bias and agenda. Bias is expected and good for business on FOX and MSNBC, but on mainstream media, it’s a death-nail.

No matter which part of the political spectrum you are on, if you get your information from a source that is left or right leaning, then that’s news with a bias that will be hard to tease apart from the facts.

So we each have to be self-reflective about where we are getting our “news”, and take great care before we act on the opinions of the talking heads we feel most comfortable with.

Here’s Coleen Christie with a powerful TED Talk about the past, present, and future of “news”…

Our frequent readers know how much we love TED. Watching the above videos of theirs, how can you not? TED.com is one of the most interesting corners of the web. EWC features the best of their talks a couple of times each month. If I do say so myself, EWC and TED are the only places I have found where smart people, curious and hopeful, can always come away transformed. Check out our list of favorites from TED here! But let’s get back to the point…

So it’s all about “biases”.

Be honest: are you starting to un-friend people who post things on Facebook that you don’t agree with? Do you only like to get news from people who think like you do?

Coleen seems to have it right: We are human. We like pie or we like cake. Our personal preferences are going to force us to make our own “personal playlists” when it comes to knowledge and perspectives.

Here’s one of my favorite quotes that pertains to one possible future for our world:

“We risk being the best informed society that ever died of ignorance.” – Rubin

Hmmm. I suspect we will all need to be part of the solution to avoid the path we are on.

I loved Coleen’s recommendation: if everything in our news diet feels great, then we need to branch out. We all lose when our perspectives are myopic. We do learn more when we reach past our comfort zones.

Let’s battle our biases.

17 minutes

#DialogueCoffee: Why We Need More Difficult Conversations

The world can feel pretty divided right now, but we have a fix for you. It's a technique called #DialogueCoffee and it makes talking to someone with an opposing viewpoint on the world a little easier (and much much more rewarding). Here's the story of how it came to be!

Read More

Stay open, curious and optimistic!

~ Dr. Lynda

Want more smart, insightful content here?

To explore our archive of articles focusing on how amazing our world is,  head over to our sidebar and give our “Surprise Me!” button a try! (Or, just click that link!) Oh, and make sure you subscribe below so that you can have a new conversation starter delivered to your inbox every day!

You can join us on our mission to prove that it’s still an amazing world by supporting us on Patreon, where you can also get access to exclusive content. If that isn’t your style, you can help by reading and sharing our content with friends and family. The more eyeballs you can help us reach, the more positivity we can all spread together. Thanks for stopping by today!

SUPPORT US ON PATREON!       CHECK OUT OUR LIBRARY!

Notes:

  1. “The History of News in Five Minutes.” YouTube. Future Journalism Project Media Lab, 09 Aug. 2012. Web. 12 Nov. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_eNCJrW62WY>.
  2. Christie, Coleen. “Fixing the News | Coleen Christie | TEDxVancouver.” YouTube. TEDx Talks, 03 Mar. 2015. Web. 12 Nov. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwmGTM5Py8Y>.

Dr. Lynda is a dentist, artist, global traveler, and philanthropist who looks for potential and shares it with the world. Hear her latest conversations with thought leaders on the Conspiracy of Goodness Podcast--new episodes every Wednesday!

In this Circle

Sam Berns and His Happiness Secrets

17 minutes

[ Curators' Best ]

By Dr. Lynda

Have you heard 17 year old, Sam Berns' secrets to a happy life? I watch this TED Talk periodically as a refresher course, no matter how busy I am - and maybe because of that. See why!
Read More

Cultural Beauty: Before They Pass Away

24 minutes

[ Books ]

By Dr. Lynda

World renowned photographer Jimmy Nelson traveled to 35 isolated countries over a few years and documented what he calls "The Most Beautiful People." Learn how his story proves the value of noticing "happy accidents."
Read More

Generosity: To Give Without Reason

23 minutes

[ Food ]

By Dr. Lynda

Generosity can be joyously large, or it can be breathtakingly simple and personal. Today we look at Narayanan Krishnan, a man who inspires us to give for no reason other than to lift the spirits of others.
Read More

What 83,000 Brain Scans Teach Us!

16 minutes

[ Curators' Best ]

By Dr. Lynda

What if we were able to treat anxiety, depression, or ADHD by looking inside of our brains? This form of diagnostic imaging is now a reality, and it is helping doctors treat patients more effectively than ever before.
Read More

Practicing Practical Compassion with the Shoe That Grows

19 minutes

[ Conspiracy of Goodness ]

By Dr. Lynda

Have you seen The Shoe That Grows? This genius idea is changing lives across the globe and it didn't come from a millionaire or a world-renowned inventor but a real person just like us! Here's his story!
Read More

The Power of Giving People a “Lollipop Moment”

9 minutes

[ Conspiracy of Goodness ]

By Dr. Lynda

Heard anything about "Lollipop Moments"? Here's an amazing metaphor to remember how easy it is to fundamentally improve someone's life with just a simple turn of a phrase!
Read More

Turning Apples into Ears: Creativity in the Lab

20 minutes

[ Art ]

By Dr. Lynda

What if we let creativity and play mix with science? Here's a lab that is doing just that, and in doing so coming up with incredible discoveries, like the ability to turn apples into ears...
Read More

Can We “Fix” the Problem with News?

22 minutes

[ Business ]

By Dr. Lynda

How does the "news" effect our biases, or vice versa? Can we create a better world if we are all in our biased corners? Here's a way forward...
Read More

The Ocean Cleanup Project

23 minutes

[ Conservation & Sustainability ]

By Dr. Lynda

At only 19 years old, Boyan Slat of the Netherlands developed an ocean cleanup array which has removed over 7 million tons of plastic from the ocean. Learn more about The Ocean Cleanup Project and how you can help in today's important feature.
Read More