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The tendency of news reports in the media to focus more on problems and emergencies - Task 2 Band 9

Updated: Nov 2, 2023

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.


Write about the following topic:


The tendency of news reports in the media to focus more on problems and emergencies than on positive developments is harmful to the individuals and the society as a whole.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?


Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge and experiences.


You should write at least 250 words.


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Task 2 Band 9 Essay Sample - The tendency of news reports in the media to focus more on problems and emergencies than on positive developments is harmful to the individuals and the society as a whole. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

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IELTS Task 2 Band 9 Sample Essay

In today's interconnected world, the media's inclination to emphasize negatives over positives has ignited discussions about its adverse effects on individual psychology and broader social harmony. I resolutely contend that the media's skewed focus on negative events over positive ones adversely affects individual psychology and erodes societal trust, necessitating a more balanced approach in reporting.


Firstly, the incessant media focus on grim news—ranging from natural disasters to crime rates—has been proven to negatively impact individual psychological well-being. A study conducted by the American Psychological Association found that exposure to a steady stream of negative news correlates with increased levels of stress, anxiety, and a general sense of helplessness. For example, in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, consumers of news reported higher levels of anxiety and a decreased sense of community attachment, as per research by the University of Sussex. This emotional toll extends beyond personal realms, leading to reduced productivity at workplaces and straining interpersonal relationships, thereby perpetuating a societal cycle of stress and pessimism.


Secondly, the overwhelming media emphasis on challenges and crises skews public perception and fosters societal mistrust. A well-known study from Harvard University indicated that incessant negative news coverage, particularly in the realm of crime and public safety, leads people to overestimate the prevalence of crime in their communities. This warped perception can disintegrate the very social fabric of neighborhoods, cultivating distrust and diminishing community participation. The 'Mean World Syndrome,' a term coined by George Gerbner, explicates how continuous exposure to negative news can make people believe that the world is more dangerous than it actually is, thus eroding social cohesion.


Yet, it is indispensable to acknowledge the positive aspects of media’s focus on societal issues. For instance, responsible reporting on public health crises, like the COVID-19 pandemic, empowered citizens to take precautionary measures, contributing to public safety. However, incorporating positive news, such as success stories of community-led environmental initiatives or breakthroughs in medical research, can contribute to a more well-rounded public discourse.


In conclusion, while negative media coverage serves accountability and awareness, its excessive focus harms individual psychology and erodes social trust. A shift towards more balanced reporting is imperative for the well-being and progress of both individuals and society.


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IELTS Task 2 Band 8.5 Sample Essay

There is a prevailing sentiment among the general populace that the tendency of news reports is to prioritize sensational negative headlines over constructive societal progress. Many assert that this inclination towards focusing on problems and emergencies exerts detrimental effects on both individuals and the collective. I completely concur with this notion because negative news has the potential to breed a negative mindset in individuals, which can cause significant harm to social interactions.


The constant barrage of negative propaganda on issues such as violence, natural disasters, and diseases, to name a few, can adversely affect our cognitive processes and behavior. The overexposure to such content can lead us to believe that the world is teetering on the brink of collapse, despite the fact that numerous aspects of life have improved significantly over the past few decades. Individuals who consume an excessive amount of negative news tend to spend more time ruminating on their anxieties and fears. They suffer from a persistent feeling of apprehension and tend to view everything in a negative light. For example, the images of the 9/11 attacks in New York City triggered stress, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in many people who watched the coverage.


Moreover, the impact of negative news goes beyond individuals and affects society as a whole. Negative stories can have a ripple effect on how people interact with each other, as it leads to a general distrust of others. The fear and anxiety instilled by negative broadcasts can make individuals hyper-vigilant about issues such as homicide, violence, natural disasters, and other disturbing events. Irrespective of the authenticity of the news report, this negative mindset contributes to the rapid spread of negative propaganda and creates social chaos, eroding the foundation of trust that underpins any society.


In conclusion, the emphasis on negative news can create a sense of pessimism and world-weariness that leads us to view the state of the world in an excessively negative light. This negative mindset, in turn, facilitates the spread of negative propaganda and erodes trust within society.


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IELTS Task 2 Band 8 Sample Essay

The public feels that news reports in the media tend to give shocking headlines rather than focusing on the positive developments in the society. Many argues such a trend is harmful to individuals and the society. However, in this essay, I will argue that this opinion is unjustified as revealing the truth, which is the key to the journalism, has no harm to both individuals and the society.


In terms of individuals, understanding what is happening is necessary in their life and work. The problems or emergencies reported in the news can happen to anyone who reads it, making the news a lesson to be learnt. For instance, there has been a surge in reports concerning the trafficking of females in China as of late, many single women to develop a heightened sense of self-protection. As a result, they devise their own contingency plans and seek out self-defense training to avert the occurrence of such tragic events as those chronicled in the news.


Regarding society, the intensive coverage of issues serves as a catalyst for governments to take action towards improvement. If all news reports solely focus on positive developments, which only highlight government achievements, there will be no impetus for governments to identify areas for improvement. The media, as an independent monitoring organization, can provide valuable insights to governments by raising questions. For instance, without years of coverage on climate change, there might not have been a net zero plan agreed upon by all countries to attempt to reduce global temperature by 1.5 degrees by 2050.


In conclusion, reporting on issues and crises is not harmful to individuals or society. On the contrary, news reports that focus on problems provide valuable lessons for individuals to learn from and insights for governments to improve upon.



IELTS Task 2 Band 7.5 Sample Essay

Nowadays, rather than showcasing the positive issues, many news channels are inclined towards negative media coverages. Some people say that this media behaviour affects both individuals and the society negatively. I strongly agree with this statement because negative news breeds negative psychology in individual level, which can lead to a huge damage in terms of social interaction.


Relentless propaganda on some problems and emergencies directly affects our thought process and behaviour. The overexposure of violent contents, natural calamities, and diseases etc. makes us believe that the world is rapidly descending into disasters, even though many aspects of life have improved dramatically over the last couple of decades. In other words, if someone watches a lot of news stories about violent crimes, they may begin to feel as though their community is more dangerous than it actually is. It can lead to a decreased sense of well-being and a negative outlook on life. In fact. this negative mindset can have a snowball effect, leading to more fear, more negative thoughts, and ultimately impacting an individual's mental health and ability to interact positively with others.


In addition, as the negative bulletin affects people’s mood, it can have a larger impact on how they interact with others around them. In other words, it has a knock-on effect on the society. Due to the fearful mind instilled by negative broadcasts, people find it hard to trust others, which creates a huge dent in social interactions. Furthermore, they become hyper responsive to the issues like homicide, natural disaster, violence, and other disturbing graphics. Regardless of the report’s authenticity, this dreadful mindset contributes to spread fast the negative propaganda and creates a social chaos. This is how the reports, that mainly focus on problems and emergencies, have a trickle-down effect on the society in the long run.


To sum up, negative news builds pessimism and world-weariness that lead us to perceive the state of the world in an overly negative light. This apprehension facilitates negative propagandas and breaks the embedded trust system in the society.


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