Do You Want the ‘Good News’ or the ‘Bad News’?

May 22, 2019

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of InQuire Media.

 

‘Israeli-Palestinian tensions’, ‘Climate Change Disaster Imminent’, ‘Brexit: Its Consequences for the UK’ and ‘Donald Trump Elected President’; these are the kinds of headlines that depress people to no end. Sadly, headlines like these are commonplace and, consequently, the world of journalism has become a place of constant bad news and misery. However, this is not a recent issue. Depressing headlines have been in print since the start of mass publishing and will most likely continue to do so.

 

Obviously, there are exceptions, many of these articles fall into the realm of neutrality, neither good nor bad, they are simply a record of events. But these don’t necessarily inspire hope or happiness, they just don’t overlap with the circles of bad news. In recent memory, few articles that have filled people with hope, with many that have causing us to react negatively to the world. But who is to blame for the negativity of the press?

 

Some might blame the big news outlets, but I would argue that, perhaps, bad news dominates the press because it is a true reflection of our world. Perhaps bad news exists because there are a lot of bad things happening all around us. It’s true that everyday acts of violence and negative behaviour occur. Even within our own country we hear news of stabbings, robberies and acts of aggression not to mention the shambles of ‘British politics’ which provokes constant concern over our future. Add to this news of international conflicts and natural and economic disasters, and the negative aura of contemporary news increases.

 

However, good things happen all the time. Acts of love, kindness and gratitude happen just as often, if not more frequently than the bad ones. But the sad truth is that bad news is more interesting for a wider readership and sells better. In the end, print publishing and news broadcasting are businesses, and lucrative ones at that. They place content quality and their ability to make money before anything else. Sadly, this means that many ‘good news’ articles are sent to the shredder to make way for more mainstream pieces which, more often than not, are depressing. Furthermore, negative news pieces (especially online articles) are more likely to spark debate and conversation since many readers form their own opinions about the events. These intense debates then create attention, which only spreads the news itself.  Using a local example, the events and articles surrounding UKC Liberty Union caused a large debate across campus and drew attention from all over the country, even hitting national-level news outlets.

 

Ultimately, the news is mostly bad. But I would argue that the few instances of good news do have a large impact. It’s difficult to see a way to escape this trend, besides young journalists pitching good news articles to their editors or adding a positive spin to their pieces. But since readership controls most of the content released in the media, perhaps it is the responsibility of you, the reader, to change the state of journalism.

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First published in 1965, InQuire is the University of Kent student newspaper.

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