It seems that we never get to take a break from the tragic news stories dominating the media at large. Here’s how you can change that.
BY JEAN ARNOTT
Journalists write about bad news because it sells
For writers, and specifically journalists, we are trapped by the cycle of demand for content published about corruption, warfare and devastation.
In an article written by psychologist Tom Stafford, he recounts a scientific experiment conducted by two researchers in which they sought to test the ‘negative bias theory’, i.e. the collective desire and inclination to read and remember bad news over good news.
He concludes: “The results of the experiment, as well as the stories that were read most, were somewhat depressing. Participants often chose stories with a negative tone – corruption, set-backs, hypocrisy and so on – rather than neutral or positive stories.”
On mass, we are addicted to the drama of life. It is no wonder that so many people are living in fear – predicting that negative circumstances will infiltrate their life as they have seen it happen to others on the news.
Writers can uplift well-being with good news.
HOWEVER, this article isn’t all doom and gloom. In fact, if it had not been for famous actor, John Krasinski’s YouTube channel SomeGoodNews, I would be less inspired to pursue journalism at all.
We often forget just how important uplifting news is for our well-being. It’s important to know that there is far more good work being done in the world than we have previously allowed ourselves to believe.
If you want to be a pioneer of positive change, then your role as a writer is critical in shifting the way people think.
Making a difference with your journalism
Although tempting to believe that drastic measures are needed to save the world, the greatest ripple effect happens when you take one step at a time. You could:
- Create a blog in which you teach your readers how to build their own Greenhouse or how they can best contribute to their local orphanage.
- Share uplifting news on your social media account written by other journalists with a positive message
- Write a short creative piece on a cause that you are passionate about and begin to develop your personal topic of focus i.e. immigrant rights, children’s welfare, environmental conservation, etc.
It is amazing to see how many organisations online are willing to create partnerships with those who have a unique take on some significant issues- so be creative and think big!
We now understand that in an entrepreneurial world where social media is becoming the primary platform for expression of ideas and collaboration with others, becoming a journalist for change begins with establishing your unique voice online.
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So, ask yourself:
Is there a cause or issue that I am particularly passionate about?
How can I, instead of instilling fear within my readers, encourage them to make positive changes in their own lives?
How can I, on my social media platforms, begin to spread the message of hope today?
For inspiration, check out these organisations:
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jean Arnott grew up on a farm in KwaZulu Natal and from toddlerhood, has travelled the Southern African bushveld extensively. This backdrop helped Jean develop her love for animals and the natural world at large.
Jean is a passionate student of wildlife conservation and animal communication. When she isn’t studying, she is writing creative stories and composing music, usually geared toward creating environmental awareness on her social media pages.