Routinely, every morning I turn on the news while running on the treadmill, and inevitably I hear bad news.
There are drive-by shootings in Rochester, robberies, drug abuse, child abuse, sex trafficking, threats of war, violent protests — constant negativity. It’s enough to make a person think there is more wrong in the world than there is right.
But, that’s not true.
To me, consuming this bad news all the time is like an emotional cancer that grows within us. The tone of our media can impact our perception of the world.
Many years ago, while working at a prominent large daily newspaper, I was put in charge of selecting the top stories for the front page of the newspaper to help attract more readers. The goal of the newspaper was to provide focal points above the fold that would drive readership.
A newspaper executive and mentor at that time told me, “Murder, sex, and violence. That’s what sells newspapers.” He was all about bold headlines that got a reader’s attention like gawkers driving by a bad car accident. While his front-page audience development thought process may ring true for some people, I don’t believe it leaves a positive or constructive long-lasting impression with those who consume that news on a regular basis.
It’s so much easier to go after the bad news — to sensationalize. While his motto of “murder, sex, and violence sells newspapers” may attract readers for that moment in time, that tabloid fodder feasts on negativity that stimulates an uneasiness among readers.
Should we bury our heads in the sand and think that the world is full of unicorns, cotton candy, and rainbows? No.
But, we have an opportunity and a responsibility, as the media, to look at the world around us and find good people doing good things.
When there is tragedy, there are selfless people stepping up to the plate to help those in need. We don’t always hear about that, but it’s happening all around us.
It is our job, as the media, to lift people up and share those good stories with readers.
On May 2, 2017, our staff took on the challenge of rolling out the red carpet to recognize area teachers. We initiated the first-ever Fillmore County Teacher of the Year award, which was presented to the very deserving Mary Hoiland of Rushford-Peterson Schools.
On February 5, 2016, after nearly two years of hard work and dedication, our staff at the Fillmore County Journal presented Boots & Badges: Honoring Fillmore County Veterans. This book paid tribute to over 3,400 Fillmore County veterans who had served our country from the War of 1812 to the second Iraq War.
Both of these projects, one recognizing teachers and the other paying tribute to our veterans, were full of opportunities to recognize important people in our lives.
I’m proud of our team at the Fillmore County Journal. Whenever we come up with an idea, everyone pitches in to produce the best possible outcome.
We are always looking for ways to brighten someone’s day and put a spotlight on the positive things happening in the world around us. If you have story ideas, please feel free to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our office at (507) 765-2151.
There is more good than bad in this world. We just need to make a concerted effort to find the good and share that goodness with others.