My Journalism professor recently reminded me of an argument I hadn’t heard in a while. The notion that the media perpetuates negativity in the world, because media professionals and journalists only report negative stories, which they believe to be more newsworthy than stories highlighting triumph or success.
Who’s fault is that? Is it the public’s fault for being so fascinated by the failures of another individual or society, or is it the media’s fault for perpetuating that fascination?‚
From the people I’ve spoken to, it seems like the news-apt public would like to hear more positive stories regarding their own country/society. When it comes to other societies, countries or continents, some revel in the bad news, because – especially for Americans and Canadians – it reminds them that they are privileged.
But at the same time, bad news is more common than good news. There are countless wars, conflicts and other horridities happening around the world right now, and obviously there are good things to, but not on the same large scale as the bad stuff.
Now the question is, do I think what I think just because I don’t read enough large scale good news (because it’s not reported on), or do I think what I think because it’s actually true? Media is our gateway into everything beyond our immediate surroundings.
It governs and shapes what we know, what we can know and what we should know. Even if you don’t like it, it shapes and influences our way of thinking about the world and the people in it.
We hear about wars in Africa and the Middle East, we hear about economic crises, we hear about government corruption.
We hear about almost 600,000 jobs being lost in January, we hear about salmonella-infested peanut butter, we hear about babies being killed by contaminated milk and medicine.
Rarely do we hear about the good stuff. But that’s not just the media’s fault. Tell the world to give us some good news. Maybe then we’ll report on it.
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