Our global media spheres are dominated by negative and worrisome news content. It has been like that for a very long time, but since the rise of social media, the imbalance has perhaps become even greater. Hence, the need for positive news is bigger than ever. And that’s where All Good Newz come in!
Fear-based journalism and information content can and does affect peoples’ way of thinking, how they perceive the world, around them and at large. But if the media focus is favoring the negative aspect of our reality, so are we, the consumers.
A recent study, done by the Pew Research Center for Journalism & Media, shows that a majority of people (62%) find that social media platforms have too much control over the type of news that people see on the platforms. As there is vast amounts of negative news and information online, that’s what the social media algorithms focus on and spin around.
Algorithms, filter bubbles, news agencies and people’s habits and preferences find themselves in a spiral of negativity.
Once you’re in it, it is not an easy task to escape this spiral. It is equally difficult to blame just one side, the media, or the other, people, for the massive focusing on negative news content. They feed each other! The media publishes more negative news because people read them, and people read more negative news because the media publishes them.
“If it bleeds, it leads.” – old journalist proverb
Negative news always sell better than positive ones, it’s what’s commonly referred to as sensationalism. But that’s only the case because we have constructed it that way! We have simply learned and accepted to react more strongly, more emotionally and more long-lastingly to negative news. Naturally, news agencies have adapted the exact same type of reasoning. And thus, we have a media landscape, and an information consumption, that defines itself through negative content.
Consider a person who is 50 years old and has read the daily news for, say, the last 30 years.
It is only natural that this person will have become programmed with an overwhelming input of negative information. This person would also have learned to react much more to this type of information. But this does not necessarily mean that there is more negative stuff happening around the world! Or that there are only problems, but no solutions. It is merely our attention and focus that shifts reality towards that side of the scale.
This theory is backed up by another study, published by the PNAS this fall. People prefer negative news content, because they are used to it and because they keep reoccurring.
But the study highlights another interesting fact. The potential upside for positive news content is enormous! People who are exposed to such content can benefit from it psychologically; they simply feel better about themselves and life in general. That is why news producers should not underestimate the need for positive news! Renowned Harvard Business researcher and author Michelle Gielan stresses this point.
It’s what she refers to as transformative journalism. Rather than solely focusing on a problem, on a natural disaster, on war or poverty, the media should instead also adapt a more solution-based news coverage. The problem, the negative, needs to be addressed, of course. But what’s being done about it should enjoy equal importance in a news report or an article. This creates hope, optimism, motivation, and sometimes even joy within the reader, according to Gielan. This is how you can transform the media landscape at large! And who wouldn’t like to consume information that makes one feel better?
Conclusively, dear reader, there is a lot of good and positive content coming your way, so stay tuned!