Why We At Heaven Mail Believe In Constructive Journalism

Why Our Cover Pages Celebrate Positive, Affirmative News

by WebDesk
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Mohd Iqbal

I am proud of my newspaper, Heaven Mail. As Managing Editor, my endeavour is to bring to the people news that can bring about positive, affirmative changes to their life.
This is the pattern followed by some progressive newspapers globally. These newspapers do not splash negative news on the front page. Some major events are taken note of.
Usually the front pages of these progressive, path-breaking newspapers highlight the new initiatives, the new efforts to improve the lives of people. Their front pages display news that serves the people.

Why Giving Space To Positive News On The Front Page Is Important
The old dictum which the newspapers followed, “if it bleeds, it leads”, no longer holds true.
A classic example is that of an Israeli newspaper which pushed the news of a terrorist attack, which claimed the lives of 12 people, to the third page. On the front page, the newspaper featured a report with an inspiring picture of a successful farmer. In five years, this farmer had transformed his desert land into an orchid farm and granary. The details of bloodshed and violence were in the inner pages. On the cover, the paper celebrated an achiever.
The reasons are obvious: People are looking at positive, inspiring stories full of hope and aspirations. Too much bad news brings in anxiety and people tend to switch off. With positive news, people tend to react positively. They see hope and want to act. They want to move away from horror and conflict, away from tragedy and disaster towards improvements, movements and innovations, development, progress and prosperity.
As former President APJ Abdul Kalam had said: “The front page of all newspapers are crammed with news of scandals, crime and death. It is better to give good news to help people begin their day with hope. Publish inspiring stories, success stories and inspire your reader with positive reports.”

Media Negativity Is The Elephant In The Room
Media negativity is the big elephant in the newsroom. People are truly fed up with media negativity. Negative news leads to extreme stress and anxiety and makes one feel helpless. It makes people feel depressed about their environment and about the world.
The fact is that negative news is generally more attention grabbing. It plays on the fear reflex of an individual. Globally, it has been observed that excess of negative news makes people only see negative in other people. It makes them feel isolated from society.
Media studies have observed that in extreme cases, negative news leads to headline stress disorder. This means that the headlines keep haunting them. They think about those headlines through the day, and even disturbs their rest or sleep hours.

Why Positive News Is Important
It doesn’t mean that we should bury our heads in the sand. But what the newspaper should do is constructive journalism that is solution-based.
Constructive journalism uplifts the people. It creates social connections and brings people together in moments of joy.
News should be more about kindness, discoveries and innovations that are improving society. Positive news can actually increase happiness and emotional resilience, feel experts. Positive news also leads to increased acceptance of others, a feeling of community and motivation to contribute to social change, shows research. It leads to an increase in hope and optimism and creates positive feedback. What the newspapers must do is to give more attention to progress and possibility.
Guardian Editor-in-Chief Katharine Viner promised in a speech on the future of the Guardian recently, “We will develop ideas that help improve the world, not just critique it. Despair is just another form of denial. People long to feel hopeful again – and young people, especially, yearn to feel the hope that previous generations once had.”

Globally, Youth Prefer Positive News
* Teenagers (Students of Classes 10-12) have revealed in global surveys that they avoid reading the paper in the morning because it is full of gloom and doom, and it spoils their day.
* They prefer to read good, positive news in the morning before going to school.
* Globally, students say that news of terrorist attacks, terrorists, civic apathy, crime, rape, pot-holes, water shortage makes them depressed and impacts them in a negative way, which makes them difficult to concentrate on their studies.
* They prefer to read such news in the evening, after they have finished mostly with their daily routine of studies etc, so that they can sleep them off and begin the day afresh.
* Students say that they prefer to read news about celebration of success stories, motivational and inspiring news, stories that talk of development and progress and prosperity.
* Students prefer to read something constructive, rather than criticism, that is more forward looking and solution-oriented, and not that which speaks of the various problems plaguing society at large.
* Globally, students have said that by reading good, positive news, they remain optimistic and energetic and not face stress and anxiety.
* Media research within India reveals that students feel proud of the way India has been making advancements on the global map and look with hope and aspiration towards a bigger and brighter future. They want this to reflect in the newspaper, especially the front page, so that they could aim higher.

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