Why I’ve stopped watching the news (and now listen to podcasts instead)

I recently attended a session at Brighton SEO that focused on podcasts.  Interestingly, Ofcom has reported that each week around six million adults tune in to a podcast – a figure that has doubled in the last five years.

So why the increase?

One theory is that people are listening to podcasts because they’re actively switching off the radio and television. They’re so fed up with mentions of Brexit and fake news and Trump and economic disparity that instead, they’re choosing to listen to something more positive.

It’s safe to say that I’m one of them. In the last two years, I’ve found myself watching less and less news. Twitter has become a good way to see what’s happening, as well as a quick listen to the headlines on the morning radio. Gone are the days of watching rolling broadcasts or logging onto The Guardian for its long reads.

To some, it might seem a bit ignorant. Is it fair that I should be closing my eyes to what is going on in the world, just because it doesn’t appeal to me? Perhaps not. But in a world where we have the power to curate and filter much of the content that we see – from our Instagram feeds to our Netflix homepage, why shouldn’t we take control over what we consume?

Watching endless news began to negatively affect my mental health, as I’m sure it does to many who consume it on a regular basis. Broadcasts are reserved for headline politics and bad news stories – enough to put anyone in a negative frame of mind before a day of work.

Instead, I began to listen to podcasts. Podcasts that celebrate strong women or inspirational people, or tell stories of overcoming adversity. Curating the content I consume has made me see that good is happening everywhere – from amazing mental health advocates to charities making a real difference. Of course, there’s a lighter side to it too. I look forward to my weekly dose of humour from Is it Just Me?, while everyone will be familiar with the hugely popular (and hilarious) podcast My Dad Wrote a Porno.

Best of all, podcasts are something that you can consume anywhere. They make housework more fun, you can learn something new while cooking dinner or even improve your body confidence while on a run. There is a genre to suit everyone too – from health and wellness, comedy to business. To get you started, here’s a list of the top nine I’m listening to at the moment.

Happy Place

Hosted by Fearne Cotton, great guests talk about what happiness means to them.

Fat Lot of Good

Hosted by Helen of Scummie Mummies fame, this body-positive podcast focuses on the glory of all bodies!

Is it Just Me?

Hosted by Jo Elvin and James Williams, this funny podcast usually features great celebs talking about the things that annoy them.

Beauty Full Lives

A new discovery! As a beauty product lover, this podcast is great. It delves into guest’s beauty history – from the products they use to how they feel about the way they look. I’ve just listened to the Caroline Hirons episode and it was amazing.

How to Fail

While you might know Elizabeth Day as an author, this podcast features great guests talking about how they found good out of their failures.

The Wellness Connection

Sponsored by Pukka (the tea company) and hosted Jasmine Hemsley, this podcast focuses on everything from relaxation to nutrition.

Ctrl Alt Delete

Emma Gannon has some great guests, as well as those you might not have heard of. The latest episode features Poorna Bell, who I love.

You’re Booked

Ever wanted to have a snoop through someone else’s bookshelves? Daisy Buchanan looks at guest’s literary loves in this podcast.

If I Can Do It

I loved Bryony Gordon’s old podcast, Mad World, and this one is great too. Uplifting and inspiring.

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