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I worked in television news for a long time, and here’s my advice to you:
Don’t watch breaking news.
When something happens, sure, watch the initial coverage. Get the basic overview. Then turn it off for 24 hours at least.
Why? Because in the early phase of any breaking story, the facts aren’t in. There are rumors, conjectures, “what we can tell you now’s” and many – often contradictory – reports coming from multiple sources whose credibility varies. Stuff that increases stress without adding value. It’s all temporary.
Also, news is a business like any other. So beneath the veneer of high-minded public service, there’s a ratings-driven churn of “keep ’em watching”. So you get a parade of experts, analysts, pundits and journalists speaking in hypotheticals for hours, all based on sketchy initial reporting. And usually replaying the same 40 seconds of available b-roll while they talk.
However, 24 hours in, there’s a lot more clarity and context. The initial shock has died down, rumors have been proven or discredited, interviews and press conferences have happened on camera, official statements have been published. There’s more verified information available, and it’s more clearly focused.
Yes, it’s important to stay informed, and it’s very important to make your voice heard. But it’s equally important not to let incomplete knowledge of a situation be the basis for actions or statements that won’t sustain for the long haul.
It’s frustrating when you feel the need to respond immediately to a situation, but wait a day. Get more hard facts, and use them to help frame that response.