The Good News Channel
This may not be a 100% original idea. Other people have thought of a version of it in the past, like the Russian news site City Reporter. The site brought positive news stories to the front of its pages and found any and all silver linings in negative stories — “No disruption on the roads despite snow” for example. Nevertheless, we posit that launching a news channel that will only report good news will have a positive impact on humanity. It’s all in the execution. The same idea can be executed well or really badly… if in the case of City Reporter it was the latter we should give the idea another chance.
Here is an open invitation to the powers that be in the news industry: the CNNs and the BBCs of this world to consider a global initiative and launch a TV and/or online News Channel that will only report the good news, and ignore the bad ones. We are not suggesting spinning the bad news to make them sound like good ones, just ignore them. In this respect this may be an original idea after all.
How the news world functions today
The news industry is defined by the saying: If it bleeds it leads.
Here are some excerpts from a Guardian article by Steven Pinker for more context:
- Bad things can happen quickly, but good things aren’t built in a day, and as they unfold, they will be out of sync with the news cycle
- Consumers of negative news, not surprisingly, become glum: a recent literature review cited “misperception of risk, anxiety, lower mood levels, learned helplessness, contempt and hostility towards others, desensitization, and in some cases, … complete avoidance of the news.”
- Trump was the beneficiary of a belief — near universal in American journalism — that “serious news” can essentially be defined as “what’s going wrong”…
In a BBC article by Tom Stafford, an academic experiment is described around how people deal with negative vs positive news. This is an excerpt from the article:
It isn’t just schadenfreude (from the German words : Schaden=damage + Freude=joy, it means: pleasure derived by someone from another person’s misfortune — bracket is not part of the excerpt), the theory goes, but that we’ve evolved to react quickly to potential threats. Bad news could be a signal that we need to change what we’re doing to avoid danger.” No one can say it better than Steven Pinker in his genius article in The Guardian:
“Make a list of all the worst things that are happening anywhere on the planet that week, and you have an impressive-sounding — but ultimately irrational — case that civilization has never faced greater peril.”
How today’s news impact humanity
The subconscious stores everything even if we don’t know it.
According to 26 experts our subconscious stores every event, occurrence, emotion or circumstance from before we were born (i.e. from the womb… nothing metaphysical). It also fails to distinguish between real and imagined. If we keep contaminating our subconscious with negativity it will inform our future decisions influenced by this content, be it real or the product of a movie. It records everything without judgement but everything in our subconscious is part of who we are.
There are some people who avoid watching the news for this exact reason. What if we could give these people a news channel they can watch?
Let’s design an experiment
DigitalMR lives and breathes agile product development. In the world of agile a prototype is created first, to serve as a proof of concept. If the prospects seem good, then with multiple iterations it gets improved into an Alpha-, then Beta-version, and ultimately it is launched in production mode. This is exactly what we suggest we do in this case as well. This article is almost like an open strawman proposal to all news media. How about DigitalMR starts by doing what it does best: find good news online. We can create a social media daily harvester of posts with positive sentiment, in a few different languages, using listening247.
We will then implement an automated stage of curation based on topics and report them on a daily newsletter and micro-site in a number of fixed columns as well as top stories and features. Here are some assumptions on the columns and features:
Health & Fitness
- Humans beating diseases
- Fitness achievements
- News on longevity
- Selfless acts
- Stories about helping each other
- Good work of charities
- Saving people or animals from danger
- Avoiding accidents
- Democratic election winners (this could be bad news too… need to find a way to keep those out)
- Innovative governments e.g. the Bhutan happiness index, Estonia
- Countries with growing GDP
- Unification of countries
- Political party coalitions
- New ways of motivating people to work
- Established companies that do good and grow
- Entrepreneurial success stories
- Mergers and IPOs
- New discoveries that will lead to new useful products and services
- Launches of new products that improve our lives
- Scientific discoveries that extend human knowledge
- Saving species from extinction
- Discovering new species
- Understanding animal behaviour
- Man visiting new worlds
- Discovering new planets and stars
- Colonising Space
- Addressing climate change
- Improving air quality
- Avoiding damage and death caused by natural disasters
Let’s first see the kind of content we will get from social media listening and whether we think it has potential as a Digital TV channel. Should that be the case then maybe we can go to a VC fund or a like-minded charity foundation with this business idea and give it a go. Please tweet @DigitalMR_CEO or email me with your thoughts.
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Originally published at www.digital-mr.com.