Why positive stories have a role to play when war is dominating the news
In times of crisis, it’s more important than ever to manage our media diets.
The situation in Ukraine is moving fast, and journalists are trying to keep up. Most news outlets have rolling coverage of the Russian invasion. What role do positive news stories have, when the Ukraine crisis is – as it should be – dominating the news agenda?
We believe that most of our readers would agree that it’s important to engage with bad news (from reputable sources); to not shut ourselves off from life’s challenges or threats, but to face them.
It was less stressful to do that before smartphones and social media, broadband and the rolling news. Bulletins were daily and scheduled. Technology limited our media diets, today it overfeeds us. Our three square meals have been replaced by a bottomless packet of crisps.
When another crisis kicked off two years ago, the WHO foresaw the potential that negative news had to damage our mental health during Covid. “Find opportunities to amplify positive and hopeful stories,” it advised. Subsequent studies vindicated the WHO: endless doomscrolling was found to have contributed to people’s negative mental health during the pandemic.
To be able to digest and continue engaging with the awful news coming from Ukraine – which is set to overwhelm our feeds for who knows how long – we need balance in our media diets. Put simply, it’s easier to confront the bad stuff when you know there’s good out there too.
It’s easier to confront the bad stuff when you know there’s good out there too
That means, at the same time as understanding the problems that exist and the tragedies that are taking place, finding out about what is going right in the world too – which is plenty, by the way.
We distil it down every week in our Saturday morning newsletter, where we bring together key stories of progress and showcase the people and places pushing for solutions in a challenging world.
Sign up, it might help to keep you sane. Writing it does me.
Gavin Haines is the digital editor of Positive News
Main image: William87/iStock