If you want to be happy, avoid news

By Tracy-Ann Oberman, May 28, 2009

I tried an experiment today. I picked up a broadsheet and looked for a positive news story. I got to page 11 without finding a single one. Susan Boyle doesn’t count.

I gave up. Looking for a good news story is a bit like trying to find an unbiased approach to reporting on Israel. Apart from Fox News, it doesn’t exist.

Apparently, we are living in a country governed by criminals, with anarchy on our doorstep as the public finally revolts. The BNP could be voted in as a leading party, the Queen might be assassinated any minute, baby murderers and child rapists are given derisory sentences, total global economic meltdown is imminent. We are a dying nation with America toppling and about to squash us as it falls. Armageddon and the end of civilization as we know it are nigh.

There’s nothing we can do about it either. We are helpless spectators at Pompeii.

I got so worried and depressed recently I googled “how to survive a dirty bomb”.

But then a publication was bought to my attention by husband — who is similarly struck down by news toxicity, aka the modern epidemic NGN (no, not Swine Flu: “No Good News”).

It is called Positive News, a quarterly international newspaper that only prints positive stories that are rarely or never covered by the mainstream media.

Did you know that the solar power industry is very close to finding a way of generating electricity using salt? Or that Birmingham City Council is setting up its own bank to help residents through the recession? And that countless teenagers around the country have forgone knives and drugs and gangs and are helping the elderly in their communities?

Makes you feel a bit better doesn’t it? Positive News lists its objectives as “honest impartial media reporting where old and young feel safe to tell their stories without fear of indifference and misrepresentation”. As someone who has suffered misrepresentation at the hands of the press, I think this is one good news story that should run and run.

Bad news affects everything. Confidence in the economy, business opportunities and property prices all deflate, and spiritually it induces fear and negativity, apathy and a lack of empathy. We need balance, and if it isn’t going to come from the media then we need to do it for ourselves.

As the song goes: “Accentuate the positive”. Well, the sun shone on the Bank Holiday and my daughter is out of nappies. And the Third World War hasn’t started just yet.

Last updated: 11:12am, May 28 2009