12 Jan Can the News damage my health?
Now that’s a question I never thought I would ever ask. I have spent the last 30 years running my own PR consultancy and I also own a local media network consisting of 3 local papers, a radio station and a digital news channel.
In the local media we have a duty to keep our communities informed, we also need to share important information, report the good and the bad but also ensure that we do not sensationalise or cause undue stress through our actions whether that be on air, in print or online.
But, over the last few weeks I have been looking closer at the effect international, National, Regional and Local news is having on people. I won’t mention the ‘Donald’ factor but I cannot ignore the COVID, Government, The Opposition parties, and our colleagues in the much bigger, more commercially robust and relentless news organisations across the UK.
For me, communications have got to to be simple. Currently, they are not. Clear and precise messaging presented regularly. If the message has to change ensure you inform your audience why, but always tell the truth never hide it because it will be found.
COVID-19 is not a lie, it’s not a conspiracy it is absolutely real, dangerous and FUCKING FRIGHTENING ask any nurse or doctor. But are our well-educated politicians and media owners forgetting that information overload, worrying leaked headlines, and a never-ending change of direction and thinking would do anything other than make people live in fear, turn off, turn their backs or even ignore the news. Are they now making the believable, unbelievable? Has the public lost trust in its news sources and the people who sit in parliament who are supposed to be protecting us?
So why am I writing this? Well, it’s well documented that I suffer from poor mental health and I am determined to get better, however, I am more determined to help anyone who is suffering during this time. How can we make a few small changes to the information we receive and how it is presented?
- Number 10: Stop leaking to test the temperature of the nation.
- Editors: refuse to discuss anything ‘off the record’. Report what you know, not what you think you know.
- Stop chasing ratings.
- Clickbait generates cash, yes we all know. SO, STOP IT. Think of the fear it creates.
- With every news broadcast, press briefing, article, interview etc give details of a phone number or email address to national, regional and local mental health charities and support networks. Show you care.
It is important that we all follow the rules STAY HOME: PROTECT THE NHS: SAVE LIVES and for our Government, the opposition and media outlets THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK, AND PROTECT THE PEOPLE YOU DEPEND ON… THE PUBLIC.