Ask Jesse: How much TV news is too much during a pandemic?

Even during a global pandemic, there's such a thing as watching too much news.

How much TV news should we be watching these days? It’s a difficult question to answer, and a strange one for someone on your TV to be asking.

Well first, let’s just take a peek at how much we watch according to Nielsen:

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According to Nielsen’s 2019 Total Audience Report


According to CleverTap, the average smartphone in the U.S. gets about 46 app push notifications every day.

Now here’s the thing about these stats. Those viewing averages from Nielsen are for all of the video content we watch on those devices, and that average of 46 phone notifications is from all of your apps. So those aren’t solely news content.
…but I mean, I am on a news broadcast right now and you are watching it… Look… Of course there’s no reason for us to feel bad about watching the news, so I suppose the real question is: How much news is too much news?
Well, I think everyone in this studio would agree that watching TV 24/7 isn’t the healthiest thing to do — yes, even during a pandemic.

One study in the European Journal of Public Health from 2009 looked at that year’s outbreak of Avian Flu – H5N1 – and the relationship between mass media and fear. It found that watching too much TV had a strong influence on levels of anxiety, despite the fact important information was being shared.

Yeah I mean definitely limit the amount of time. I think it’s important to check in every 6 to 8 hours and see if there’s anything new going on, which you’ll miss a lot right now. But being on there constantly, especially on FB, makes you start to think, “Wow, all these media reports must be true. This is the end. I can’t look at somebody with COVID-19, and I think all these fears will be instilled in us.”

Bottom line — We know our sweet spot better than anyone. It’s important to be in the loop, especially these days, but don’t let it keep you from using the information we provide you with in your everyday life. If Tawnya lets us know it’s safe to go out to eat, go to a restaurant. If Michael says it’s nice out, take a walk around the block. And more than anything, trust your gut. Consume too much of anything, and it’ll be the first one to let you know.