It is difficult enough living in lockdown. But living in lockstep with bad news makes it even harder. The sheer volume of covid-19 news, its relentlessness, its all-encompassing nature, make it unlike anything that has gone before.
According to the latest weekly research from Ofcom, growing numbers of people are dialling down how much they check in on news about covid-19. And more than a third are ‘trying to avoid news about coronavirus’, with young people and women the most likely to be doing so.
As with so many other issues, the covid-19 crisis has shone a light on a trend that has been growing in recent years: news avoidance. A report last year from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism showed over a third of people in the UK actively avoid news, up 11 per cent in two years. The main reason? Almost 60 per cent of news avoiders blamed the negative impact of news on their mood while 40 per cent cited their powerlessness to influence events.
Giselle Green is a former BBC News journalist, now working as a communications consultant and running a solutions journalism project. She has worked in political campaigning and the charity sector