When I set out with this blog I wanted to shine a light on the positive and uplifting stories that I know are out there but that are generally buried under doom, gloom and financial figures. I wasn’t sure if my life was an exception but I was pretty positive that I had no reason to be miserable all the time, I didn’t have to fear for my life at every corner, and my neighbours were actually nice people. Yet this is not what the media was telling me!
I quickly lost interest; at best the newspaper would get a cursory flick-through and I really only watched the news for the funny guy on the ABC who read the financials (funny being a relative term here). This was not because I like financials or because I knew what he was saying, just because I like his graphs.
Now I do know that, to an extent, my life is the exception. I am extremely privileged to have been born in Australia, raised well and educated more than was technically necessary. There a great many people out there with a lot less than me, in situations of suffering and, yes, it is the job of the media to show that picture to the world.
Yet a landslide in India that kills hundreds doesn’t even blip on the media’s radar, yet a neighbour that squirts his fellow with a hose gets a 10 minute, handy-cam shakedown. All too often the media was letting me down.
And where were the uplifting stories? I know there are people out there doing good, I’ve met some of them, but I haven’t seen their faces on TV, read about them in the papers. For every landslide that kills hundreds there are people doing something to help. Organising aid, holding events to raise money, doing things that affirm humanity’s capability for emphathy. Where were these people? Do they have to squirt their neighbour with a hose to get airtime?
“When nearly seven billion of us wake up each morning, we do so naturally with intentions of bettering our world – yet for all of our daily achievements, discoveries, compassion and love, we are bombarded with little other than war, death, hate and depression.”
Reading on – and later talking to the creators, Mike Worsman and Chris Campbell – confirmed that I was not the only one with a chip on my shoulder regarding mainstream media. Yet these guys have gone much further than I ever could have, forming their own news site, that in less than 5 months is already being viewed in 148 countries, by people of like mind. Already they are ‘stealing’ readers from mainstream news sites and encouraging back to news those people who had previously turned away from the biased reporting.
Research cited on the website, not only confirms my suspicions of media coverage but shocked me. Current trends in media indicate that only 15% of news is ‘positive’. That’s 85% of the news we see and read portraying the negative aspects of our lives. My life, for one, is not 85% negative so why is the media telling me so?! If art and society really do mimic one another then we can really only expect our lives to get worse.
OR we can rebalance what our media is telling up. Our World Today is not just a happy-la-la site that only sees the other end of the spectrum. Terrible things will and do happen and they will be reported. But rather than tie a person’s hands by telling them that the world is a scary and ultimately fearful place why not find someone who is doing something positive amidst the chaos. Show people that even in the darkest times our ability for empathy and kindness still exist and that, in fact, there are many ways that each of us can be involved.
Empowerment and education should be the key drivers of the media. Our World Today is the only place that I’ve found giving the world the credit we deserve.
Here’s the link to my first article with them. Stay tuned for more.
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