THE number-one rule, across all kinds of media, for all media-makers: don’t blame the audience for your failures. Yet that’s what BBC Radio 4’s Nick Robinson did this week, as we heard that a million people this year have stopped listening to his flagship morning news show, Today.

Turns out Robinson thinks the problem is that “people just want to avoid the news. Market research literally calls them ‘news avoiders’. We will all know people who think ‘I just can’t face the world anymore’.”

There seems to be a whole research industry devoted to “news avoiders”, with fascinating stats (and theories). But I jolted at this story, because I must confess, dear reader: I am one of them.

I am a “selective” rather than “consistent” news avoider, as the Reuters Institute researcher Benjamin Toff (yeah, I know) might put it. I blank out certain maddening topics, that is, rather than only visiting news less than once a month.

But a few years ago, I did consciously dial-down my overall news consumption. And this from a former status as a vein-popping news-junkie.

A big memory of my first partnership (a two-journalist family) was the pair of us slumping down with a bottle of crisp white every evening, then religiously watching Newsnight, where Paxman and Wark in their prime curled lips at hapless suits.

Sundays were a cartload of newspapers, each weekday was a bucketful, with some global magazines from Borders in Buchanan Street as garnish. There was a month-long attempt to categorise our tsunamis of paper clippings, which ended in madness (thank God/Google for the searchable internet archive).

And though the events were momentous and challenging enough (end of the Cold War, two Iraq wars and 9/11, the global financial crash), as well as the wood-pulp-and-ink being supplemented by social media in the Zeros, I still didn’t feel overwhelmed by news. I felt like a citizen – struggling to stay above water, but still in touch with the “news agenda”.

There’s no doubt that part of this voracious appetite for news came from a feeling of needing to be fully informed, as we all engaged in the constitutional struggle for independence. Who knew what factoid could better prepare you for sceptics, or help you make the case?

Indeed, The National’s very existence rests on its readership’s appetite for news, views and facts, local, national and global, that might bend the curve of history towards indy.

All the news-audience trends in the bigger states involve a rise in indifference and antipathy to the news media across the world, accompanied by scepticism about the political classes in general. By contrast, a good half of Scotland still thinks it has agency enough to shape Scotland, hoping to be fully functional democrats one day.

So it’s no surprise that such civic optimism can sustain a vibrant daily newspaper (and a penumbra of blogs and podcasts). I remember in some political dog-days, never dreaming that we could have such a platform…

But what I’m skirting around is my psychological shift after the first indyref defeat. Which (as the recent documentary To See Ourselves never stops reminding us) just about shattered any myths one might have about the UK establishment media’s fairness or impartiality.

There’s a funny line in Chris Morris’s The Day Today satire, where his arrogant anchorman berates a hapless reporter: “Brian, you’ve lost the news!” Well, indyref1 is where I started to “lose the news”, as a necessary, near-constant presence in my life.

You can read all the media studies you like on the unavoidable biases of broadcast news and the mainstream press – and believe me I used to. There were many painstaking analyses by the Glasgow Media Group in the 70s and 80s, on the coverage of the Troubles, or race. But none of that stuff really lands until a victorious 52% Yes poll is immediately linked to crashing currencies and company relocations on STV News. That is, until it happens to you.

The expert manipulations and psychic triggerings of populations that we saw in Project Fear, Brexit’s “Take Back Control” and the Trump victory – their triumphs of “feels over reals”, of emotion over empiricism – really widened the fissures in the edifice of mainstream news for me. Leaving it mostly as crumbled rubble, which I have now mostly chosen to ignore.

Although I do entirely understand the need to keep tabs on Tory perfidy, to me it steers precious personal energies in the wrong direction. Ezra Pound used to describe poetry as “the news that stays news”. To me, there’s only two news stories that, in this sense, constantly stay news.

They’re both like giant magnets, pulling smaller stories to them like filings, with a third big one always hovering nearby.

The first is the story about the radically disruptive technology and science that humans have a strong tendency to keep inventing. In a sense, since 1945, there’s only been one big story - which is that human ingenuity has finally invented a way to terminate itself. And it’s only been for a combination of geopolitics and sheer luck that we haven’t actually done so.

ADD to this accelerating computation replacing human skills, and gene-editing making both human enhancements and killer pathogens equally possible – never mind a capitalism that can’t stop baking the planet – and you have the news story of all news stories. Are we just angry, reactive mammals with god-like tools in our hands? Or can our wisdom advance with our tech?

There is a second story – which is one of planetary climate limits, not just our infernally unlimited ingenuity. Will we blunder into a series of tipping points in the biosphere, shifting the zone of habitability that humankind (or at least homo sapiens) has enjoyed up till now? Can we apply our transforming technical cleverness in a planet-friendly direction?

Apart from those two, what else is there? Well, in these northerly parts of Planet Earth, we should retain our interest in the optimal form of democratic sovereignty. A form of power that might at least try to respond to these dilemmas, by inventing new institutions, behaviours and norms. Scottish independence is the “news that stays news”, to the extent it believes that a people can shape even these super-dramatic futures.

It’s no shock that folks, when they are “news avoiders”, mostly recoil from particular stories. An aversion to Ukraine, national politics, climate catastrophe are high in Reuters’s marketing report, referred to by Robinson at the beginning. My own revulsion is being caught with my nose against the glass, watching strangulated Thatcher-clones (of all sexes) trash our collective future, for their career advantage.

But apart from that, my news agenda looks for a Scottish response to these megatrends and epochal dilemmas. And those responses can be artistic and experiential, as well as about policy and structure. In fact, it may be Scottish idealism that gives us the real muscle to adapt to these times.

So don’t let the news establishment blame you for recoiling from the worst. Instead, seek out those who meet the real challenges, and cause you to act differently. So there it is, Mr Robinson.