How about a ‘good news’ edition?

Published 11:04 am Friday, October 14, 2016

Much exposure to national news, particularly as it’s depicted on television news shows, suggests that the end of the world is nigh.  A moment’s reflection reminds one that the sensational story sells more print space and air time than nice homespun pieces do.

But it did occur to me that a letter to news editors suggesting restraint in touting bad news would not be amiss.

Dear News Editor:

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So far my day has not been spoiled by seeing or reading the latest news. Later I will likely pick up a paper or turn on the television or run into someone who has the latest horror story.

While I understand that your job is to present the news of the day, I also know that you are in a position to select the news that will go before the public. Your teletype or internet service offers you many options, some of which do not underscore the deterioration of the world, the continued submersion of the best in mankind into the quagmire of primitive existence.

Beyond noting that in your control of the news you at the same time make news, I’d like to make a suggestion. I’ve attached a short column that The Oxford Eagle ran this week. While you may not choose to run the piece, I want to ask if you will give thought to its thesis. Consider declaring a Good News Day, printing and broadcasting only positive stories. (Television stations might even consider not airing the savage movies that so regularly darken the screen.) As this would be a day specified for such a purpose, you would have ample time to assemble material to publish.

Here is part of one response that came in my email this morning:

“I just had to let you know how refreshing your article in the December 31st edition of the Oxford EAGLE is. I rarely pick up a newspaper or listen to the news. I am a happy and positive person and do not like all that garbage filling up my mind. This morning, I decided I would start trying to read the Oxford EAGLE as a morning ritual. How pleased I was to find something about people who care and are making a difference … which is the real news to me. I am very active in the community.  I by no means have my head buried in the sand; however, I got rather disgusted at all the negative news last year. I want to thank you again for your positive article and for making a difference.”

My sense is that many people share her sentiments. Please give thought to this idea.

I propose that the news media select one golden day each year and pledge not to run anything but good news. I think it would be splendid to have all the media in the state on the same page. The only change I’d make in my original essay is to make Good News Day fall on January 1. What a great way to start a New Year!

Let me offer you some real headlines that your paper might have overlooked today:

“Students Serenade Choir Teacher for the Last Minutes of Her Life.”  “Critically Endangered Black Rhinos Welcome Two Newborn Calves.”  “Grumpy Toddler Suddenly Stops Crying the Second She Sees Her Sister: ‘I love her so much!’”

“Local Mosque Serves Up Breakfast for 800 Police Officers.”  “Inmates Reduce Sentence by Growing Thriving Gardens for Charity.”

Well, you get the idea, don’t you?  No murders, no wars, no embezzling, no child abuse, no trillion-dollar debt reminders. Nothing bad. Good people doing good things for others will be the rule. I believe the good guys outnumber the bad guys. I believe there’s more in this old world to celebrate than to weep over.

None of the bad would go away; it would still be on the internet and the wire services the next day. But for one golden time we would hear only good things about good people.

As an old radio show used to say each Sunday, “It’s better to light just one candle than to curse the darkness.” Who knows: we might even follow their example.

TJ Ray, a retired professor of English at Ole Miss.