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Society & Ecology
Thursday, April 14, 2005  
News & Orientation

This is something I have been curious about for a long time.

Trivial and Problem Oriented News

In the news - and this seems universally true these days - there is typically a focus on a limited categories of stories. (a) Pure entertainment. (b) Single instances of tragedies. (c) Serius issues where the main focus is on what does not work. And/or (d) trivial "good news" focusing on "feel-good" stories of small scope and little importance.

The first one may - in the best cases - tell us something about the universal human situation through a story about a celebrity or someone else. The second may have little but shock and entertainment value, beyond helping us getting in touch with the universal aspect of tragedy in human life in general and ours in particular (one aspect of human life). For the third category, there is a good reason why we are attracted to serious issues - we need to know about what threatens our well being and/or life. But there does not seem to be a good reason to focus mostly on what does not work, beyond strengthening a tendency for judgement, blame, etc (an us-them view). And the feel-good stories are added to sweeten the mix, but they typically do not have much substance.

Solution Oriented News

What is left out is the type of stories I find most interesting and valuable. Stories of substance that focus on real-life, constructive, life-supporting solutions to serious issues. Just about the only publication I know that consistently does this, is Yes! magazine - although they are only a quarterly publications. There seems to be a large unfilled marked here. I cannot be the only person dissatisfied with the problem-oriented angle mainstream news typically takes, and the empty stories that goes for "good news".

Today, maybe more than ever, we need stories that are (a) substancial, focusing on (b) solutions (c) that are proven to work (d) concerning the serious issues that face us.

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