News can’t always be what you want it to be (that’s called propaganda)

While fluff stories can be nice, the news is the news, regardless of your personal stance

I wish all the news I had to write was CT scanner donations and cat adoption stories, but it isn’t.

Recently I was on social media when I saw someone talking about how they wished media organizations (not specifically our paper, but the “news” in general) would share more positive stories.

This gave me pause, because while I think it’s commendable to want to live in a world in which people are so selfless and kind that there is no such thing as bad news, I can’t help but dwell on the suggestion that media organizations should pursue more positive (or “fluff,” or whatever you want to call them) stories as opposed to simply reporting what is happening at any given moment.

I get it, news (read: a select few who are often featured in it) often makes me angry too.

LAST WEEK TREV THOUGHTS: It’s not ideal, but vaping can be a breath of fresh air for cigarette smokers

Especially if you don’t identify with any combination of municipal, provincial, federal or international politics, reading news about people you likely don’t care too much about can be annoying.

But it’s also important. When we shut down and say, “No, enough, I don’t want any more of this bad stuff, I want to hear things that make me happy,” what we are really saying is we would rather be fed digital and physical soma by the broadcasters of this world instead of what is really going on, regardless of whether it’s positive or not.

Let’s contextualize this.

In 2020 (it still feels weird typing that) we live in a world where social media is so pervasive that if you don’t have some digital persona which you constantly groom and which is only a reflection of the “best” version of yourself — your best photos, best moments, best anecdotes and best thoughts — it is you who is the pariah.

A world where sponsored content is so rampant the digital sphere is able to send you targeted ads for those fancy printed socks you were talking about around Alexa but swore you never searched up on Amazon (I can’t be the only one this has happened to).

And lastly, a world where people of power and influence can circumvent the traditional gatekeepers of information and fact for platforms like Twitter where bravado beats brawn and rhetoric beats empiricism every time.

Whereas we used to socially ostracize conspiracy theorists (don’t get me wrong, I love a good conspiracy as much as the next person, but I’m talking the truly deranged ones who believe lizard people rule a flat earth) now there are dozens of YouTube channels which will not only cater to their delusions but actually further them. These spaces also connect like-minded individuals; they are a big reason we are seeing such a rise of far-left and far-right extremism.

MORE TREV THOUGHTS: We have to do better than the last decade if we are to survive

In short: whatever you believe, there’s someone on the internet who is willing to tell you you’re correct and it’s everyone else that is wrong. That there is a grand conspiracy to keep you from realizing the truth.

We are already losing news. It is becoming harder and harder to find accurate, verifiable news online that is being given away for free.

The solution is not more cat videos, it’s a middle ground.

When I was in school we learned about a thing called solutions journalism. In short, it’s a story about a potential solution to a problem as opposed to just the problem itself. Think “Local child in remote African village finds way to sterilize entire drinking supply” as opposed to “Small municipality no longer has highest cholera death rate in world.”

This is the way forward, not simply news that makes you happy, but rather timely, important stories being produced by journalists doing everything they can to find the positive silver lining.

I’m the first to admit I can do better and try to look for more positive angles to stories. We all should try. That said, there isn’t always going to be one. Some stories are just plain sad.

If you still disagree with me then perhaps there is no convincing you, but you’d do well to read 1984 and really look back at exactly what Winston was doing for the “Ministry of Truth”: an eerily-accurate depiction of what happens when you combine authoritarianism in any of its forms with a seemingly-neverending digital grasp: in effect, the ability to censor reality.

How would ignoring the negative to write the positive be any different?



trevor.hewitt@interior-news.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Single-engine aircraft crashes near Telkwa

Two occupants of the plane sustained minor injuries and were transported to hospital

Search on for mushroom picker missing from near Kitwanga

Tommy Dennis was last seen Sept 16 wearing blue jeans, black cap, rubber boots, grey checked sweater

Northwest firefighters headed to Oregon to battle wildfires

Over 200 B.C. firefighting personnel will assist in the U.S.

Cullen announces bid for provincial NDP nomination for Stikine riding

Current MLA Donaldson not seeking re-election

Another Telkwa councillor calls it quits

Councillor Rick Fuerst is the second Telkwa council member to hang up his hat since the 2018 election

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

70-year-old punched in the head in dispute over disability parking space in Nanaimo

Senior’s turban knocked off in incident at mall parking lot

Most Read