People who love to read physical newspapers often cite “discovery” as one of the advantages over the Internet. Your eye scans the entire page and you notice interesting items that you wouldn’t have otherwise known about. The problem is that many of those interesting items are total downers. Most news involves unpleasantness of one sort or another, so the more you see of it, the unhappier it makes you.
This got me wondering how the Internet handles all the bad news, since I see headlines many times a day online and never come away feeling sad. Today’s news headlines on yahoo.com were interesting because they are mostly couched in upbeat terms.
- McCain, Obama plunge into 5-month general election ‘08 race
- Clinton: ‘I am committed to uniting our party
- Group: Somalia is facing its worst humanitarian crisis in a decade
- Fire may cost Universal Studios tens of millions
- United Airlines reportedly plans to ground 737s, 747s to save fuel
- Astronauts to fix international space station’s broken toilet
- World War II veteran, 83, graduates from Texas high school
- NBA Finals Stanley Cup MLB French Open NFL Olympics
The toilet on the space station isn’t “still broken”; it’s being fixed! Clinton didn’t lose a primary in which she stayed too long; she’s uniting the party! United Airlines isn’t in a death spiral that begins by grounding lots of airplanes; they are saving fuel! And that feisty 83-year old World War II veteran is graduating high school! And hey, what about those sports!
Even Yahoo couldn’t fix the headline about Somalia, but there are no photos on the home page. And “humanitarian crisis” sounds much better than starving by the truckloads. It seems like maybe the problem could be fixed with good paperwork.
I wonder if anyone has studied whether the Internet has generally more upbeat takes on the news compared to physical newspapers.