Why is the news all bad? Why do the media, 90 per cent of the time, lead with war, murders, attacks, death, political wranglings and nastiness, accidents or missing people? The more dramatic the better? Why do they save the good news and the good vibe stories for the end, positioning them as afterthoughts or here’s-something-quirky-fluffy-or-engaging-to-pay-lip-service-to-the-idea-of-balance pieces?

What is it about the media that confirms and prolongs the notion that bad news is good news? And what is it about us that we legitimise and condone it by continuing to buy the newspapers and tune in to the air time? For us, in our everyday lives and loves, no news is often good news. For them, no news is worse than good news. It means they have nothing to say, nothing to fill the void with.

It beats me. I try not to be saddled with the bad news. I avoid getting sucked into a good vibe vortex. I don’t watch the news on television, news that is pushed to me – whether I like it or not – in the old broadcasting style. I select the news I want to read on the web. OK, so it’s still controlled and prioritised by the same organisations, but I feel like I’m pulling the stories that I’m interested in, in the order I prefer.

In all of journalism has there ever been an editor who has decided to achieve a genuine balance of good and bad, and even lead with the good stuff, to lift his or her readership and ultimately the region out of this misery funk? Is it even possible to start a movement that becomes seismic this way? Probably not an example who has lasted, since circulation and ratings would have tanked in the short term, and the powers that be would never have stayed the course.

Perhaps it simply feeds our constant need for affirmation that there’s always someone less well off than us, because they’ve been killed, orphaned, injured, marginalised, threatened, beaten, ripped off or otherwise suffered at the hands of others or from the fickle hand of fate.

So perhaps we’re the problem, or is there no chance for us to change?

Advertisements