It says the same thing everywhere and everything is always so negative: many people now avoid media. It has become fashionable to be uninformed.
It’s Friday and, phew, it’s all very exhausting again: Joachim Gauck says on the radio that Germans should think more about June 17th. Always should we something! The CDU wants to find its course at the weekend. Well, if so! Hundreds of migrants may have drowned in the Mediterranean, the agencies report. Terrible, you feel so helpless, almost like those people on the ship!
I think I’m tired of the news – and I’m not alone. People are losing interest in the news, one in ten is even actively trying to avoid reading the news – this is the result of the just published Digital News Report 2023. Just 52 percent of adult Internet users in Germany are extremely or very interested in news, five percentage points less than in the previous year. “News avoidance” is what science calls this, the avoidance of news.
But journalism is also a difficult product. It used to be a little more attractive: at university it was fashionable to walk around with thick newspapers rolled up in your backpack. You got “Zeit”, “Süddeutsche” and “FAZ” every twenty meters from some other student and then always had to remember to cancel the trial subscription after two weeks. Still, it was a status symbol. For me it was first the “Süddeutsche”, then the “FAZ”, although these chunks were only read sporadically. Today it’s like the record collection: the distinguishing feature that was once visible from afar has disappeared into digital invisibility. You can’t tell if someone reads or not.
“Who actually tells you what to write?”
“It’s always the same everywhere,” an acquaintance recently said to me at a coffee party, and then added: “Who actually tells you what to write?” I tried not to choke on my cupcake and asked him how he imagined it. The editors come together, the door flies open and the government spokesman announces the slogan of the day? “No,” said the acquaintance, of course he didn’t mean it like that, but it was really the same everywhere. He’s much more interested in crypto, but we never wrote anything about that. (which is wrong.)
Like so many grievances, the pandemic has also accelerated this one: The topic of Covid-19 in particular has tired people – you remember, that was this virus recently with the dead, masks and lateral thinkers. Also, many respondents say the news is mentally draining. Even journalists admit to fatigue, some say it subtly after a long week, others write it in an essay for the “Washington Post”.
The pandemic has left us all disheveled, including journalism. This is also due to people like Jan Josef Liefers, who turned their own excessive demands on to the outside during the pandemic and the media diversity in Germany without further ado compared with the GDR. Not reading as an act of rebellion – the people of June 17th would be proud of Liefers.
To mindfulness nirvana
The zeitgeist helps to ease the comfortable ignorance Selfcare to refine: In the well-being society committed to happiness, messages are now one Challenge on the way to ostrich mindfulness nirvana. Anyone who frantically clicks through the news these days will quickly be thrown by their fellow human beings Doomscrolling before, so the hopping from horror to horror. Supposedly can that cause post-traumatic stress disorder. News avoidance, on the other hand, tightens the skin, I suppose.
It is also a career-enhancing character trait not to keep yourself informed about world events. As is well known, stupidity has found a network on LinkedIn, where every half-thought tumbling through the skull is sold as a vision. A man in a short-sleeved shirt and a cash register rack recently posted a picture of the crossed-out “Tagesschau” because he no longer consumes the news. He’s doing something Leadership and Mind set and got a lot of applause for his contribution. “Finally someone says it,” was the tenor of many comments, often written by people who also have something to say Leadership, Mind set and Selfcare make. It has become fashionable to be uninformed.
“Constructive journalism” instead of nagging
If you dig deeper, whether as a researcher or fellow human being, it becomes clear that news consumption is declining, but it is often shifting to celebrities and semi-celebrities who cheerfully present world events in videos and podcasts – of course by making news consumption and that for others take over thinking.
Of course, that also means that people like the ousted “Bild” boss Julian Reichelt are gaining influence: rejected by classic journalism, Above all, they send opinions, fear and malice on their own channel, i.e. what bangs so beautifully digitally. Range is everything here, he doesn’t have to earn money. Observers are now firmly assuming that Reichelt is being financed by billionaire Frank Gotthardt. No wonder that influencer is a dream job – and journalist is no longer: the number of applicants is declining.
The industry is alarmed, more so than it already is. Even journalism professors suddenly warm to concepts that feel as good as a chocolate muffin that’s still a bit soft inside: “Constructive journalism” is what it’s called, it focuses, to put it simply, on the success stories, i.e. projects that worked well – instead of nagging about what’s going wrong.
Being informed for the company
Others focus on the ultra-interested remainder: specialist newsletters cater to those who need to be familiar with a certain niche, sometimes at extremely high prices. This saves you the chunk of paper and feuilleton that you always throw away unread anyway. The fees are paid by the company, the association, the institute. Being up-to-date was considered a civic duty and is now part of the working day: I like to be informed, but only for the company.
What could possibly go wrong? The world keeps turning even when no one is looking. The really important things reach you somehow. Or? Good: The Basic Law somehow assumes that people want to actively inform themselves. According to the Federal Constitutional Court, the free political press is “indispensable” for a modern democracy, even “absolutely constitutive”.
But, let’s be honest – what do these Karlsruhe judges know about Mind set, Leadership and Selfcare?