Oliver Burkeman

Oliver Burkeman: Living with the News

Oliver Burkeman: Living with the News

A BBC Radio 4 Series


Oliver Burkeman explains why we need to pay less, not more, attention to the news

Award-winning journalist and author Oliver Burkeman has written three bestselling books on happiness, productivity and time management. Now, in this thought-provoking radio series, he looks at the way we consume and obsess over the news, and why it's so bad for us.

Tracing the origins of the modern news cycle, from the first mass production of newspapers in the 19th century to 24-hour rolling news and the alluring interactivity of social media, he shows how we have gone from a scarcity to a superabundance of information. Hooked by attention-grabbing headlines, we've dived into the dramas of presidential politics, pandemics and wars, feeling actively involved in - and infuriated by - things we can't control. And this illusory sense of participation in events inevitably causes stress, anxiety and a loss of perspective. So how do we rethink our dysfunctional relationship with the news?

Talking to authors, academics and media experts including Emily Bell, Robert Talisse, Pandora Sykes, Rolf Dobelli and 'Doomscrolling Reminder Lady' Karen K Ho, Oliver considers how we can free ourselves from the relentless grip of the news. Do we have to be up to speed with the latest stories to be responsible citizens, or is our increasing engagement with current affairs actually bad for democracy? Is going cold turkey the solution, or could simply stepping back, pausing and reflecting be the key to greater understanding? And is it possible, by focussing only on issues over which we can personally exert an influence, to let the rest of the world take its course?

Over five fascinating episodes, Oliver shows how we can switch our default state, put real life centre stage - and make the news somewhere we visit, rather than where we live.

Production credits
Presented by Oliver Burkeman
Produced by Peter McManus
With Charlie Beckett, Tanya Goodin, Emily Bell, Karen K Ho, Bryan McLaughlin, Rossalyn Warren, Robert Talisse, Ben Toff, Pandora Sykes, Rolf Dobelli, Graeme Forbes

First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 19-23 December 2022

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