Marketing & Communications

Newsophobia: side effect of a pandemic. Growing number of Britsh people declare avoiding national and global news

For starters, facts: The Reuters Institute of Oxford University for the third time checked how the British consume information from the country and the world during a pandemic. It turns out that after the initial period, when the popularity of news was record-breaking, the situation has changed. Currently, an increasing percentage of respondents declare that they always or most often try to avoid news – as much as 22% of the respondents behave in this way. If we add people who claim to behave in this way from time to time, the number increases to 59%. And what’s more, compared to previous surveys from mid-April – this result is growing dynamically. At that time it was 15% and 49% respectively. The declared reasons for such behaviour are also interesting. 66% do this to avoid the negative impact of new messages on their mood. 33% think that this type of message is too much. “Only” in third place, with a score of 32%, is a lack of trust.

Do such results surprise us? Perhaps. Although they absolutely shouldn’t, if we understand a little bit about our human nature. We have a natural tendency to notice, in the first place, disturbing signals suggesting a threat in our environment: it is called a negative implication. So in this case, from the media clutter around us, we pay attention to mostly negative messages, i.e. those related to the pandemic and its consequences. This, in turn, puts our entire nervous system in a state of increased readiness, which in turn means increased energy investments and translates into “overloading” of the whole body. The solution that subconscious “hints” to our brain is straightforward – you should avoid stimuli that generate all this confusion. In this way, perhaps a new disease is born, which is called newsophobia, i.e. reluctance, to follow current information, especially such as those that have dominated the media for over 60 days.