The effects of todays news reporting in television and newspapers on individuals are devastating.
Negative, shocking things are the norm, positive, inspiring news are the exception. This is due to the interplay between the psychology of attention and the free forces of market. Emotions, kitu CRM iere and violence catch attention much better than positive news. What catches the attention tends to sell better on a free market.
I believe that this structural problem could be solved through different ways.
If journalists understand their work not only as informing, but also as inspiring society, they will feel an urge to not let their audience alone with a negative impression. They will want to inspire hope and action. A typical turn towards things that give hope or possibilities of constructive action at the end of every negative article could become a standard!
- A collection of codes of ethics in journalism from around the world.
- Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics
Laws for positive News
In Russia, it has been done. Unfortunately it seems that it was out of a different motivation.
In Cuba, GDR and other socialist states the press also tended to show only positive things. In this form - going hand in hand with censorship of deviant ideas - making laws for positive news is not a good idea.
Under Democratic Control
But in my opinion, it should be possible to create an authoritative body that is controlled by society at large and operates in a transparent way and is in constant communication with the rest of society, which determines the rules of what is classified as positive. Being obliged to meet a target of positive news can then be very healthy for society and the constructive work on the challenges it faces.
It is even thinkable that certain newspapers, TV or radio stations could ask to be exempted when they show that their negative news is actually inspiring positive action.
The final measuring stick should be the attitudes of the audience. If they can handle the negative news and transform it into constructive action, then it is alright. But generally, constructive action is much more likely if the stories that people hear are inspiring them.
I just stumbled across the concept of Peace Journalism. It seems that some of my ideas are already implemented in that form of coverage.