I quit reading/watching the news 3-4 years ago, and my level of happiness was boosted almost immediately. Obviously using the internet/twitter all the time its not possible to avoid it all, but fortunately I miss EVERY ridiculous type of story that James references.
What helps people is if I am feeling good first. If I am feeling refreshed and healthy and inspired and positive. Then that helps the people around me be more positive and inspired. And that creates a ripple effect. Society is made up of individuals. If you are positive, then it spreads to the people around you. Eventually that creates the tiniest of effects in the situations all around the world that are negative. The more people working in happiness within, the more the situations around us and throughout the world will resort to positive and sustaining solutions.