Constructive news

There are at least three ways of reporting news.

Today’s news tends to be drama and problem focused. They report on accidents, wars, and generally things that go wrong. (There is, of course, an evolutionary reason why that’s interesting to many, and why it sells.)

Another option is to focus on light entertainment. Something vaguely interesting, but without much substance or importance. The current media is quite good at this too.

The third option is much more interesting to me. News that focuses on practical and real-life solutions to serious problems. Yes! Magazine is a good example of this type of journalism, and it is occasionally found in mainstream media as well. (Today, perhaps especially renewable energy stories.)

Perhaps future media will balance these three more. We of course need to know what’s happening in the world, even if it’s not (yet) solution oriented. Entertainment sells, so that will probably be there too. And why not include solution-focused news? Why not include stories about real life, practical solutions to local and global challenges?

I once contacted an editor of a major newspaper in Norway, suggesting they have more constructive and solution focused news. He replied saying, in essence, that’s fluff, we are a serious news outlet. If that’s their view, I understand why that type of reporting is often ignored.

But it also seems obviously and patently wrong. It’s easy enough to do news stories on practical solutions to real problems, and do it all with seriousness and substance. Many do sometimes, and some do all the time. And I wouldn’t be surprised if it won’t become the norm at some point in the future.

Looking at it from another angle: The drama and problem focused news tends to play into our evolutionary predisposition to focus on drama and problems. It has aided, and does aid, our survival.

The gossip or entertainment stories also play into an evolutionary tendency to want to know what’s going on, and rest when we can.

The solution focused news may play more into higher brain functions, more related to planning and long term views. That’s perhaps why it’s been more in the background, so far. At the same time, we are living in a world where that’s sorely needed, as is becoming more and more clear to more and more people. Solution focused news offers information about practical solutions, potentially making them help spread. It may also feed a more optimistic outlook among people, creating a sense that – yes – much good is happening in the world, and we do have the solutions we need to the challenges we face today.

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