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Calling for a Media Revolution

by Beth on October 22nd, 2016

I’m done. I can’t take so much negativity! The 2016 presidential campaign has been so divisive it makes it hard for anyone to stay positive. That’s why I was excited to learn about the transformative journalism movement. Positive psychologists Michelle Gielan and Shawn Achor have partnered with Arianna Huffington to encourage journalists to adopt a more positive, solutions-focused approach to news coverage.

The idea that negativity sells has dominated thinking in journalism for too long. The truth is, people share positive stories more than negative ones. And their attitude toward a brand is more positive when it’s located next to a positive article. So advertisers are better off linking their brand to good news stories.

Research shows that negative stories cause people to feel hopeless, whereas positive stories do just the opposite. They inspire and motivate us. If you are exposed to 3 minutes of negative news in the morning, you are 27% more likely to report at the end of the day that it was a bad day. Start your day with 3 minutes of good news and you will be 88% more likely that afternoon to feel like you had a good day.

Negativity is bad for our well-being. People are tired of it. Many are trying to find ways to laugh about the campaign. Have you seen the #TrumpBookReport tweets? Or “Weird Al” Yankovic moderating the final debate? Others are trying to help with things like an app offering meditations for “emergency election stress”.

We can work together to bring about a media revolution. We have a choice of where we get our news. Let’s turn off the negativity and support media outlets that also highlight transformative stories. Let’s choose to read and share news that is uplifting. The Washington Post publishes The Optimist, a weekly newsletter “dedicated to stories of pluck and awe”. The What’s Working section of The Huffington Post and both highlight positive stories. aspires to be “our nation’s GOOD economic news service”. Please share others! We can create change by choosing more balanced media sources and refusing to tune in to negativity.

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