Why We Need More Good News

Today.com+has+created+an+entire+section+dedicated+to+%E2%80%9Cgood+news.%E2%80%9D+%28Courtesy+of+Instagram%29

Today.com has created an entire section dedicated to “good news.” (Courtesy of Instagram)

Daniella Terilli, Contributing Writer

Have you experienced that bogged-down feeling after seeing a negative headline on TV or in newspapers? Have you ever felt a sense of dread while mindlessly scrolling through your phone and stumbling upon a report of some tragic event? You’re not alone. Especially within the last year and a half amid the global COVID-19 crisis, consuming too much bad news has been horrible for our mental health. 

To address this problem, today.com has created a section entirely dedicated to “good news.” If you ever get tired of hearing about violence, wars, death and overall gloom, Today.com and plenty of other similar websites can provide a respite through stories of laughing babies, generous surprises and dogs playing in the snow

What does this say about today’s journalism? The answer is two-fold. 

First, a glaring reason for putting out positive stories is to offset the constant stream of negative news. Outside of the consequences of being consistently exposed to bad news, just hearing about tragedies and loss regularly is not enjoyable. 

Second, constantly reporting on disasters is incredibly difficult for journalists. Just as the good news articles provide a refreshing, much-needed break for readers, covering happy stories about Boy Scouts saving someone’s life, for example, are therapeutic pauses for reporters. These articles are relieving, and they function as necessary spaces to breathe for both those who put out news and who consume it.

However, the importance of positive news stories is entirely subjective, as is the case with most news we consume. We don’t need to hear about a toddler starting a friendship with his neighbor any more than we need to hear about a freak accident resulting in the tragic deaths of three people. But, unfortunately, one type of message is relayed to us infinitely more often than the other. The good news articles might be considered “fluff,” but they are crucial reminders that the world isn’t always as dark as it seems.

Many people get fed-up with negativity and choose to ignore politics and world news completely. This is an understandable response. Constant sorrow becomes overwhelming. Nonetheless, it’s crucial for people to stay informed on political issues and current events. 

The opposite reaction of overconsuming the news is also extreme. Increased anxiety, depression and stress are serious detriments. We shouldn’t be consuming news to the point where our mental health is compromised. 

The reporting of so many depressing events is unnecessary. In many cases, tragic and sad stories are used merely to garner attention. We can see this at work with how the media sensationalizes events. Readers often play right into this. 

Have you ever noticed how, when there’s a car accident on the road, drivers always slow down to see what’s going on? People can’t seem to look away

There is a similar phenomenon with negative news. No one derives joy from hearing about mass shootings, natural disasters or war crimes. However, our morbid curiosity gets the best of us, and if an opportunity to hear about something negative presents itself, we engage with it. 

Media sources know this and use it to their advantage. Whatever path gets the most attention — and financial gain — is the one they take.

Negativity pervades the news cycle, and this isn’t likely to change anytime soon. To avoid harming our mental health, we need to take steps to protect ourselves. 

Today.com and many similar websites are starting to offer positivity to us, but we have to actively choose to engage with this news and use it as a break from all of the other disheartening media we are exposed to.

Daniella Terilli, GSB ’24, is a marketing major from Westchester, N.Y.