Good news should not be a fad

3 April 2020  |  Insights
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The BBC have recently launched ‘BBC Make A Difference’ as a twice-weekly podcast and local radio broadcast to profile people making a difference during the coronavirus. The campaign has been set up 'to help connect communities and bring together people when they need it most.’ Already more than 150,000 people have contacted their local BBC radio stations since it launched.

The fact that a national, publicly-funded broadcaster has invested into a campaign like this is admirable, and more than that - it is much needed.

But, it is not only needed during a crisis like COVID-19.

Good news stories, inspirational testimonies, and profiling of community togetherness have been too long left at the bottom of the media agenda.

There is a distinct shortage of hope in our world. And the media has a responsibility to help turn that tide.

A recent Barna study in partnership with global aid charity World Vision found that 1 in 3 18-35 year olds did not feel they had someone who deeply cared for them - the same study found that many also had a pessimistic perception of the future and were anxious about the big decisions in their life.

Western nations, such as the UK and US reported higher levels of anxiety than in the global south.

Of course the media are not the only influence - but they are key.

The media present a worldview that many don’t have time to assess or analyse. We consume news in bit-size summaries that, collectively can build an overwhelmingly negative expression of what is going on around us.

Natural disasters, political disharmony and celebrity infidelity have a disproportionate platform across our newspapers, websites and broadcasters.

Those who serve the homeless, who give to the poor and who sacrifice time, energy and finance for the most vulnerable are often not considered newsworthy.

Coronavirus has affected everyone. As the British Chancellor has repeatedly stated, these times are ‘unprecedented’.

If we were to be exclusively bombarded with the number of those infected and number of deaths, there would be another epidemic to follow, one of mental health.

And that, is why it is commendable that media are more open now to good news and inspiring acts for their news agenda.

But, let’s hope that once the world has recovered from this outbreak, that we don’t lose the power of good news.

Good news plays a vital role in society. It should be given the platform it deserves.

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