News media is reported as becoming increasingly negative in focus yet few studies have examined potential psychological effects. The purpose of this study was to replicate a reported link between news exposure and anxiety, with optimism as a potential moderator, and to further current research by considering the roles of attention levels and emotional response. A cross-sectional survey measuring trait anxiety, optimism, news exposure, attention levels and emotional response was conducted on a sample of 48 college students and 25 working adults. An interaction was found between news exposure, optimism and anxiety but not in the predicted direction. Whether these findings were reflective of the population or compromised by high levels of optimism in the sample is unclear. The robustness of previous findings is also evaluated.