If there is anything good to come out of 2020, it will be that the world now increasingly gets its growing demand for good news.”Editor, Good News Post
Up to 2020, a style of news has been dominated by tales of terror, hatred, war of words and actual wars.
Since 9.11 there has been a building up to saturation bad news, leading to an overwhelming tsunami of the stuff. After 19 years, the coronavirus crisis worldwide has sent many over the edge.
Not only do people receive bad news via newspapers, radio and TV of course. It’s the massive explosion of the Internet and social media since the late 1990s, and the surge of mobile phone use 24.7 which has led to the crisis.
The resulting fear, anxiety, stress and mental health of young and old is at breaking point.
Now finally, things have started to change. COVID-19 was the final straw. Stories such as Captain Tom, aged 100, raising £32 million for the NHS by walking captured the hearts and minds of Britain, Prime Minister and the Queen. Let this be the start of an acceleration of such stories.
Life is often hard enough and brings enough bad news of its own. I remember my own childhood and the issues of a wonderful yet dysfunctional family, growing up in the 1980s on a council estate in the north of England.
I was in pubs regularly from the age of 11 and met all different types of people and backgrounds. It gave me a great background for news journalism and a heart for people in need.
Life is often hard enough and brings enough bad news of its own.”
I experienced being in a home that tasted alcoholism, unemployment, police, crime and bailiffs coming to the door to repossess the house.
Yet I was a news addict at an early age, devouring my dad’s tabloid newspapers. It was natural that I would enter a journalism career where I could live a life in news.
The addictive nature and news and social media is a double whammy for today’s young people.”
I still do. But I have lived through an evolution of news, and now there is a big and growing demand for good news.
I have sensed this trend for many years. After starting out in journalism and work experience with the Leicester Mercury in England in 1996, I have worked for a wide variety of local, regional and national media outlets since then.
As a dad, community worker, school governor, and journalist, I have listened to countless numbers of people, and read and written tens of thousands of news stories.
We have reached a new stage of history of the news.
Today’s news is increasingly visual and shocking, leaving little or nothing to the imagination.
Now everyone is technically a journalist. Their bystander-captured media can trigger in many people huge fear, severe shock and stress. At the very least it is prompting anxiety, mood swings, sadness and even depression.
Watching bad news triggers stress related hormones such as cortisol, which can cause dreadful effects on the human body and mind.
It is also addictive, as I know from personal experience.
I have listened to countless numbers of people, and read and written tens of thousands of news stories.“
The highly addictive nature of 24.7 social media
Even more worrying is the addictive nature of social media. The fact it is deliberately so. It was designed to make young people and old want to continuously refresh the screen, and to go on it hundreds of times a day.
It is a double whammy on the mental health for today’s young people.
Never before in history has this been the case.
I remember, just like millions of others, watching in sheer shock at 9.11 unfolding.
I watched it for months. I realised my brain, like others is predisposed to go negative. The news we have demanded reflects this. Yet since the 1990s when I was a negative thinker, I have worked to train my brain to look at the positive. As a news addict, it was my only way to stay positive and happy.
Good news makes the world a better place, cheers people up and offers much needed hope.”
This is why the Good News Post was born.
I believe that good news makes the world a better place, cheers people up and offers much needed hope.
Since 2007, I have been a governor in schools on the ground, as well as a dad at home. Since then I have been helping to train up hundreds of young people to find and write good news. Dozens of professional journalists including Nigel Dando, 48 years of experience, have helped in the training.
A senior BBC London source told me that their own research is finding that young people want more good news than ever before.
And another journalist who writes for all the national newspapers, told me that editors are actually now asking for more good news.
Just before the COVID-19 crisis, we met and interviewed Prime Minister Boris Johnson twice in the summer of 2019. He met and listened to our reporters and read our newspaper.
As a former journalist himself, he passed on a few tips to our cub reporters. Then in August 2019, our good news reporters sat round the cabinet table in 10 Downing Street before interviewing Mr Johnson. We left him and the team in the cabinet room with lots of copies of the Good News Post.
It will be a great day when leaders of countries across the world, join with other leaders, to call for good news stories to balance out the bombardment of the bad. Of course, journalists need to hold politicians to account. As a former political reporter, I interviewed local regional and national politicians for several years.
But there has to be a balance. The balance has been lost over decades. The Good News Post stands for journalism with a smile. We exist to train young people to flood the world with good news.
If there is anything good to come out of 2020, it will be that the world now increasingly gets its growing demand for good news. The planet and people all across it will be happier as a result.