Last week a friend of mine sent me a link to an article that he knew I’d enjoy, and by ‘enjoy’ I mean he knew it would bug me. Over the last few years but especially over the last few months, articles and news stories have appeared proclaiming how much worse everything is getting, not just with political adversity but with devastating weather, monstrous wildfires and tragedies overall.
Having worked in marketing, the media overall and in a variety of contingency and prevention professions over the last 25 years, I’ve made a hobby out of watching how the news is presented, how it’s grown as an industry, how the different sources compete with each other and what gets covered . . . and how often, usually over and over and over again. News, both good and bad, has been happening for millennia and the only thing that’s changed is the fact that we now have not only a 24-hour news cycle – and a few hundred million people carrying video cameras around in their pockets – but a 24-hour news cycle that’s occupied by hundreds of different news outlets.
A perfect example of how much things have changed is how the weather is covered. I’m probably dating myself but many of us remember when information about an approaching hurricane was relegated only to the actual weather segment of a broadcast. Updates would be issued and there might be a suggestion or two about filling your car’s gas tank and picking up a few extra cans of tuna. Now when we have the slightest possibility of a tropical system that might impact a 50- or 100-mile section of coastline more than a week from now, it’s breaking news. Cue the ominous soundtrack and flashing graphics. Over and over and over again.
Another example is Tunguska and the fact that news of that truly earthshaking event took weeks and months to travel to the rest of the planet. The amount of data that now flies across the internet, airwaves and via satellite is mind-boggling and a huge amount of it is entertainment disguised as news. Shocking, devastating news played over and . . . well, you get it.
If anything, a lot of things are getting a lot better. Just last week, U.S. researchers announced that they’d discovered a way to turn off the chromosome defect which causes Down syndrome. Not to mention relatively recent debuts of the smartphone (when’s the last time you used a paper map?), hand sanitizer stations every 10 feet and the cronut. All pretty good stuff.
Maintaining some perspective will help you lead a happier life, not to mention help you be more productive and sensible professionally. After all, the constant barrage of bad news leads to burnout, apathy and reverse Chicken Little syndrome. When the sky’s always falling (but it’s not), complacency becomes entrenched. There will indeed be genuine tragedies, devastating occurrences and business interruptions in the future. Unfortunately, you and/or your organization might be affected. Check your plans, recheck them, fortify them and make them as robust as possible with new service solutions, new technology and new systems. For most of us, right now is down time. Use it wisely.
Continuity Housing helps companies with their business continuity plans by pre-arranging guaranteed housing and providing logistical support for mission-critical employees during disasters.