As a child, I would not watch the news very much. My parents would call me in if there was an interesting story, usually about animals (no surprise there), but usually I wasn't that interested. However, I would read the paper every morning, so I would know the bullet points of the big stories happening in the world.
It was not until the big referendum in Canada back in 1995, when residents of Quebec voted whether or not to separate from Canada and become its own sovereign entity. I remember staying up late and watching the little progress bar swing back and forth from YES to NO. And, at the end, it was a nail-biter: 49.42% "Yes" to 50.58% "No."
That was the first time I really realized that the news was happening all the time and such stories could have wide-reaching consequences. After that, I began to pay attention during elections. Not that I was a political junkie, but I was relatively informed.
And when I could vote, I considered it my patriotic duty to voice my opinion through my ballots.
Does one vote ultimately matter? Can one vote really make a big difference and make my voice heard?
Not really, in my opinion, as 1/191,000 is not even remotely significant. But I thought of it this way: It is my right to vote democratically, and by expressing my opinion, I have a right to complain. You do not vote, you did not have a right to complain about the electoral process or the results of it.
I have since come to realize the errors in that statement, but it was a while ago, so forgive the touch of ignorance in that statement.
I began to pay more and more attention to the media, outside of election time and during big events, once I began my time pursuing my Masters of Journalism. I figured that while I was learning how to be a journalist, I should watch and listen to the pros.
After about a year to 18 months, I stopped watching the nightly news on a regular basis because of the content. I was angry that most of the newscast was devoted to either scaring the audience or simply telling them what to feel. Be wary of this, be scared of this happening, etc...
It just became far too depressing.
I still read numerous newspapers every day, but I stay away from the standard nightly newscast.
And this clip, from HBO's The Newsroom (which is one of the best shows I have ever seen), perfectly encapsulates why:
If only the real news were more like television, and isn't that just sad?