Bad news

I remember back in my childhood days, where I would wait earnestly for a copy of the only English daily in Malaysia, called The Straits Times, to be delivered. I was any avid newspaper reader by the time I was 12, scrutinising eagerly the news then. Thus I knew  what happened in faraway places with seemingly exotic name and could name  the political leaders of those places. Back then, there wasn’t much bad news that I can remember reading though. There was occasional news about armed robberies, communist attacks, wars in Indo-China and Middle East, IRA bombings etc. But I can’t recall being negatively influenced and developed any fears after reading the papers.
Today, It’s another matter. Newspapers are selling by promoting bad news. It’s bad news that is news, while good news are just not worthwhile. 
I am not against bad news. It think there should be  case for more balance between good and bad news. There is a need to be wary of  having too much disconcerting news and providing readers with little actual experience and knowledge other than negative images of certain places, people or ethnicity. When we used to write an essay, we have to deliberate on the positive and negative aspects of the matter, and newspapers are obliged to be balanced too.
Anyway, what is the role of the press? Is it to inform the public and act as the watchdog. I think I can agree on that. But I also happen to think that it can have positive role in promoting good values. These include reporting news that inspire, and those that me people feel good. People’s Daily below’s article is a good read on this subject:
Want to be happier? Turn to good news
A U.S. kid who thinks today’s news is too depressing, has set up his own online television empire that specializes in all that is good in the world.

He is Max Jones, a 12-year-old schoolboy from Florida. His Weekend News Today at garners up to 5,000 hits a day and has attracted unpaid teen interns from across the globe to write and edit video and written content.

Media research shows that people are growing weary of some western media that are over enthusiastic about reporting bad news.

In 2006, BBC conducted an online survey on happiness index of the British. It showed that people felt "extremely awful" about too much negative coverage posing terror and anxiety. For instance, media tend to dramatize crime and government negligence, ridicule political figures, and exaggerate crisis such as global warming.

According to a similar survey by Yahoo, people in U.S. were also tired of negative news. "Media portrays a collapsing world full of diseases, wars and worsening environment," a netizen said, "it changes a happy person into a depressed one." Some people said they no longer read the news.

Someone questioned: "Where is the news concerning the heros around us?"

Researchers from Ohio State University discovered that the depressed hardly realize the goodness in life. Meanwhile, people who are tired of the bombardment of bad news hope for some changes in media.

Some who participated in BBC’s survey advocated "restricting media’s reports on negative news", and "setting the proportion of media’s positive and negative news. Any media whose negative news exceeds the proportion will be fined."

In reality, someone have already started their mission of spreading the goodness in life.

Earlier in 1993 in UK, Shanna Barros, a retired actress, established a newspaper called "Positive News". It specialized in "stories of people striving for better life". Now, the paper is published in UK and U.S., and its agencies have been established in Spain and Argentina.

In U.S., apart from Max Jones’ "Weekend News Today", a news website called "Good News Gazette" is more professional with more abundant content.

"There is a lot of good news in the world. News isn’t exclusively for terrorism, wars and economic downturn," said a senior media personnel from UK. "Some new media are endeavoring to promote inspiring news which will make people feel better in life."

By People’s Daily Online


About kchew

an occasional culturalist
This entry was posted in News and politics. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s