There are a few ideas about what we call "the news" that just won't die. They are firmly embedded in our society as accepted realities, especially in an age where we are subject to 24-hour immersion in "breaking news," "trending topics" and, lest we forget, "viral content."
We have learned to expect certain things from news outlets, journalism and the mainstream media — we expect to be kept up on "current events." We have expectations of "fair and unbiased reporting." We expect journalists to have some vested and ethical interest in The Truth: to be at once social justice warriors of one stripe or another, whistleblowers and modern-day superheroes rather than, say, narcissists fawning for recognition.
The fact of the matter, however, is that without the technological reach of the media, what we think of as "the news" would have very little impact on how we think of the world.
"lacking a technology to advertise them, people could not attend to then, could not include them in their daily business. Such information could not exist as part of the culture. This idea — that there is a content called 'the news of the day" — was entirely created by the telegraph (and since amplified by newer media), which made it possible to move decontextualized information over vast spaces at incredible speed. The news of the day is a figment of out technological imagination. It is, quite precisely, a media event. We attend to fragments of events from all over the world because we have multiple media whose forms are well suited to fragmented conversation."
If you think about it, it's absolutely true. Attempting to filter anything of actual, actionable value in the signal-to-noise ratio generated by headlines, articles and tweets that all echo the same thing becomes difficult, if not impossible.
I don't think it's possible to shut off the flood of disconnected atrocities and horrors that we wade through on our Facebook timelines, Twitter feeds and Google searches. I don't necessarily even think that we should look for a silver lining in every disaster: sometimes the search for good means having to wade deeper into the bad.
There are, however, things that might help us find a little but of perspective: facts and statistics that we can easily find a little bit of hope, truth and joy in without relaying on editorial lenses that might otherwise cloud our ability to see what is still good in the world. If you find yourself saying, "Yes, but ...," please take a deep breath.
Here are a few to get you started reading with open eyes and an open heart.
1. Over 350,000 babies will be born today.
Welcome! We think you'll like it here. Enjoy it.
2. There will be around 2,118,000 weddings in the U.S. this year.
We're pretty sure some of them will have open bars.
3. There were more than 14 million cancer SURVIVORS living in the U.S. as of January 2014.
Each one of them can teach us a little bit about courage.
4. 53 percent of singles say that a great smile is the most attractive feature.
A very good reason to practice in the mirror.
5. Mother's Day and Valentine's Day account for half of all floral sales in the U.S. each year.
Go tell your mother and your significant other that you love them. Just because.
6. No news outlet is reporting it, but all around the world, right now, people are falling in love.
That's pretty good, we think.