Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Something to think about: Sick of the news

From page A4 | October 04, 2013 |

I am a reporter and I am sick of the news. More accurately, I am sick of how the news is created: people opening fire on other people, the Middle Eastern countries perpetually warring with their own people and everyone else, the hurricanes, wildfires, floods and earthquakes and Congress — that’s what creates the news. And I am tired of it.

Sometimes people criticize our paper because it has too many human interest stories; other people criticize it because there are too many stories about murder and crime on the front page. Maybe a story about a serial killer seeking redemption through his love of cats would be the only way to satisfy the critics.

Reporters don’t make the news — we hope — we just report it. I think our paper does a good job of balancing the stories between the worrisome, the informative and the inspirational, but we are a regional paper. News media that report national and world news appears to have less flexibility and more horror to work with.

If the national debt were smaller; if Congress was working together and responsive to the will of the people; if polar bears weren’t running out of ice; if homelessness was truly a temporary problem; if Americans weren’t obese; if China was environmentally conscious; if joblessness was a choice; if the three teens in Oklahoma had solved their boredom issue by helping out the elderly instead of gunning down a jogger, I’d probably like the news better.

We flew to Maryland on the day that the U.S. Naval Yard in Washington, D.C was the site of a mass shooting. We waited a few days before venturing to Washington to see the sights because of the investigation. I missed the blow-by-blow account of the shooting because I was changing planes and flying through the air. It’s probably horrible of me to admit this, but I don’t think I missed anything I needed to know.

While in Maryland I met a mortgage loan officer for Wells Fargo who said he stopped listening to and reading about the news because it was flavoring his days and not in a good way. This made things a little difficult, at times, because he was unaware of a murder that happened a block from his home and that police needed help in finding the killer, but it also allowed him to live his life and deal with his clients in a more positive way. After I beat him up about how poorly Wells Fargo and the rest of the big banks were handling mortgages, foreclosures and short sales, I could see that he needed all the positive attitude he could gather.

And there’s the rub: Whether it is better to be unaware and reasonably happy therein or to be overwhelmed with information, most of it worrisome. If the world were different, the news would be different, say some — maybe that is true, or maybe the world, and the nation, isn’t as messed up as it appears from the media.

If there were fewer wars, murders, crises and disasters to report, the media would have to spotlight more new discoveries, more medical breakthroughs, more instances of world collaboration and national cooperation, more stories about people helping other people. Is the seeming lack of balance in the national and world news because people want to know more about the bad things than the good things, or because there are more bad things happening in the world?

Maybe the man from Maryland has the right idea — to jump off the news wagon for a while and see what happens to your life. His ostrich-like approach might be unrealistic, but it might also be a way to see the world from your own perspective and to draw your own conclusions.

It’s interesting that while the news points out the dire job market and the awful economy, there are a lot of every day people whose own experience seems to be milder. They figure they must be very lucky. Maybe it’s just that the news leans too hard in one direction.

In China, 200 years ago, a change in ruler didn’t make much difference to the people not living in the capital. By the time the news traveled over the vast land and they heard about the death of one ruler and the ascension of another, years had passed and their lives were pretty much the same.

I’m not suggesting that we ignore the pain and suffering of others — I just wish there was less of it to hear about.

Wendy Schultz is a staff writer and columnist for the Mountain Democrat. Her column appears bi-weekly.







District 2 candidate statements tell of goals

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1

Sand Fire nears containment: 66 structures destroyed

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Quarter-acre fire in Kelsey

By Rebecca Murphy | From Page: A3

Schedule for Highway 50 blasting closures

By News Release | From Page: A3

Tails wagging over dog park approval

By Julie Samrick | From Page: A3



My Turn: Privatization of public services

By Mark Belden | From Page: A4

Policy book

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4



District 2 supervisorial special election

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 4 Comments

GDPUD management report

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Piano replaced

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Comments sign-in policy

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Save the Guinea Worm

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Large bangs

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

Private property gets no respect

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 2 Comments



Ex-Bruin lends a helping hand

By Steven Shaff | From Page: A8 | Gallery

Sierra Sharks finish middle of the pack

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A8

Roundup: July 29, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A8

Taz pull through for SSL trophy

By Patty Pope | From Page: A8



Nuns discover a pleasant place

By Lexi Boeger | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Bargains can be found everywhere

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

At a glance: Game time

By Mimi Escabar | From Page: B2

Barbecue dinner to benefit Blue Star Moms

By Mount Aukum Winery | From Page: B2

Stagecoach story takes riders on a trip

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: B3

Help needed to make cool ties

By Sew 4 | From Page: B3

Stroke and osteoporosis screenings planned

By Life Line Screening | From Page: B3

Master Food Preservers: Tomato time

By Monique Wilber | From Page: B4

Gold Rush Days activities cancelled this year

By Sacramento Convention And Visitors Center | From Page: B4

Build an author platform at the Library

By El Dorado | From Page: B5

Sacramento area museums offer summer fun

By Sacramento Association Of Museums | From Page: B5



Weather stats 7-29-14

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

Building permits 6/2-6/2014

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2Comments are off for this post

Crime Log: July 17

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2



Wallace Murrel Thomas

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Merlyn Wilbur Adams

By Contributor | From Page: A2


Real Estate




Women’s Health

Love the skin you’re in

By Noel Stack | From Page: WH4

Dump stress and improve your health, productivity

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: WH7Comments are off for this post

Women’s Health Expo

By Marshall Medical | From Page: WH8

Find the confidence you need to fight back

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: WH12

Our choices directly affect our health

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: WH14

They’re NOT your mother’s hearing devices!

By Marshall Medical | From Page: WH17