Bad news are good news. Good news is no news. No news is bad news

For the uninitiated, this is the first thing they teach you in any journalism course, along with a whole other set of concepts that help define the newsworthiness of an event and that include parameters such as geographical proximity, details (truci and scandals) available, fame of the people involved. According to these parameters, for example, a murder in Milan is much more newsworthy than a humanitarian crisis on the other side of the world and the "divorce" of the Sussexes from the Royal Family is more news than an English girl murdered on her way home.

Beyond the ethical problems underlying this modus operandi typical of traditional journalism, lately I have often found myself reflecting on why newspapers and television broadcasts report only bad news: is it true that “good news is no news”?
Undoubtedly, knowing what is wrong with the world is necessary to form opinions, try to change, defend ourselves from threats and, driven by these reasons, it is us news users who seek and feed ourselves mainly on bad news, as emerged from a study conducted by Marc Trussler and Stuart Soroka at McGill University in Canada.
However, there is a different journalism that we discovered when we first approached the pages full of Positive News, the first media in the world to marry the constructive journalism.
But what exactly are we talking about? 

The term constructive journalism or solution journalism officially born in Denmark in 2017, it was coined by journalist Cathrine Gyldensted and university researcher Karen McIntyre.
This type of journalism is based on a new approach that places more attention on solutions rather than the problems described in the facts and stories told. This alternative model of journalism arises precisely from the need of some professionals in the sector to promote a type of information that, while remaining accurate and, where necessary, critical and denouncing, is able to tell stories in "constructive" ways, ie oriented to highlight solutions to the problems reported, raising awareness and involving readers.
The stories told in this way become precious ideas for improving the society in which we live, rather than feeding a sense of insecurity and apathy as happens with most bad news. Being bombarded with negative news, in fact, not only increases the perception of risk, but also induces a sense of frustration linked to the powerlessness of being able to do something about what we are reading.

Constructive journalism is not limited to the famous 5W rule (Who, What, Where, When, Why), but adds another question: what can be done?
In a nutshell, it is a different and possible way of doing good journalism which, escaping the dramatization and spectacularization of reality, is at the same time critical of problems and propositional on possible solutions, thus pushing readers to change.
It is not a question of reporting only “good news”, but of writing bad news in a different way to make us citizens aware of the real risks and problems and, therefore, less frightened, less manipulable and more informed.

If you have never approached this type of journalism but are curious to find out, we recommend that you read Positive News, you can find it on Frab's HERE.



March 17, 2021 — Anna Frabotta

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