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Friday, November 3,2017

Start Spreading the GNEWS

By Jonna Shutowick. M.S. Ed.  


Definition: gnews [nyooz] noun: good news; information presented about positive things happening in the world. Synonyms: positivity, community, hope. Antonyms: manipulative, ratings chasing, fear-mongering

Forty years ago, a research group in Britain analyzed the front pages of newspapers during a two-week period looking for the ratio between positive and negative stories on the front pages. This was the Seventies. Quick history recap: Cold War, Vietnam, Munich Olympics, oil shocks, hijackings, hostage takings, recession, race riots, women burning their bras (:-0). Their findings?

One positive story for three negative stories, on average, in that decade. Recently, a similar study was done which found one positive story against 17 negative ones. And while we are admittedly experiencing an arguable increase in challenges of late, there has certainly not been a 500% increase in difficult times in the past forty years. It’s no wonder people are freaking out on a daily basis and growing more and more defensive! With the advent of cable news and the competition among different outlets to cement their brand into the annuls of the Corporation Hall of Fame, We the People are left to consume a diet of half-baked, super addictive headlines that strike a certain chord within us and keep us coming back for more.

What w e need is a movement about our information diet similar to those that have gained traction around our food. Whole, organic , healthy, free of emotionally driven headlines and manipulative bias. It’s out there, it’s just not easy to find just. Like finding organic veggies in the 1980s, prudent journalism is something we have to seek out for now.

But it is there. And don’t get me wrong, I love my occasional large fries order at McDonald’s. But it always a choice. Similarly, we can choose to tune into information that satisfies our particular viewpoints, and we can also choose what kind of information we are in the mood to be updated about. There is news, and there is gnews.

I know that there are problems in the world, and I don’t close my eyes to misery. But as with anything in life, balance is the key. So after learning about the latest tweets, and what’s new in the war on terror, and who is or isn’t running for President on any given day, I click over to a newsfeed of another stripe and read positive stories about my fellow human beings meeting challenges, finding solutions and making positive contributions in the world.

I love that I write for your local source for Good News. We, the writers, and you, the readers, are part of something larger that is slowly gaining momentum as a balancing force in the public sphere of “info-space.” This is good news.


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