Is Good News Underrated?

Robert V. Taylor

Watching the news is often an exercise in testing your endurance about crises, disasters and heart-breaking stories.  The tsunami of bad news buries the abundance of good news stories that exist. If we are what we surround ourselves with then paying attention to the good news stories alters our experience of being alive.

A man I know was determined to stop watching or reading the news because he said it made him feel helpless and despondent. A friend of his challenged him – “There’s an invitation in the news inviting you to respond to an issue and become a participant in repairing the world.” It was a transformative challenge for him.

Finding himself repeatedly drawn to stories about the lack of access to education plaguing young girls around the world he began to educate himself on the issue and ultimately give of his time to work with others to build schools aimed at educating girls in Africa and Asia. His life has been changed by the work he has become passionate about. He says, “I’ve become a proselytizer seizing every opportunity to talk with anyone I can about the need to educate girls. I tell stories of the amazing work people are doing!”

His proactive response to the challenge of the bad news that had overwhelmed him is a story of good news. Some media platforms are responding to the yearning for good news.  With its CNN Heroes awards and features CNN has tipped its hat to highlighting positive transformative stories of ordinary people putting compassion and hope to work.

Huffington Post has taken a bold step in launching their Good News platform to counter the cynicism that much of the news invites. Arianna Huffington says that, “Those of us in the news media have provided too many autopsies of what went wrong and not enough biopsies.” She has raised the bar and that is worth cheering!

With every act of compassion, with every idea implemented to improve the lot of others, with each word of kindness the experience of being human and being alive is transformed. The courage, imagination and voice of each of us have a cumulative energy and power to polish the world.

The real crisis and heart-breaking stories invite us in, reminding us of our common humanity and our need for one another. The mantra of media executives is that the titillating, the scandalous and the invented crises are what the public responds to or craves. That presumption and the life-draining news that results from it can only be changed by you and me.

In neighborhoods, offices, community groups, families and towns across the country the stories of the good abound. When you intentionally tell those stories you create a different energy. When you interject a conversation about gloom and doom news with positive stories you shift the narrative of what is possible, of what it means to be human.

The negative news is highly overrated. The way to change those ratings is to engage with the positive stories. Not to avoid the awful realities or crises that exists for many, but to invite ourselves and others into a fuller narrative. Good News will become more highly rated, more sought after when we make our need for it known. Social media reminds us that it lies in our hands to do that!

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