Friday, October 11, 2002

nature of the news
question (14 of 100)

While waiting for my meeting with Jason and the people at Yehey, I had coffee at the Serendipity Lounge at the Discovery Suites, one of favorite places to unwind or hold meetings. It’s on the 22nd floor of the hotel and, apart from having a great view, is cozy enough to hold discussions in.

Anyway, I picked up a copy of the Philippine Star and was gratified to see one of the print ads we made, dominating a page (almost as good as a full page and less expensive). Anyway, a lot was made of our Lady President’s comment on getting “plenty” of sex, including a quotation from the First Gentleman that he has sex three times a day (the cynical follow-up question would be “With whom?”).

Gabriela, the vocal feminist movement, nailed her to the cross stating that her disclosure was insulting to women and in poor taste. Perhaps they don’t get enough themselves, who knows.

The rest of the news was uniformly bad: bombings in the South, the horrendous exchange rate, fighting among the politicians, and various lawsuits.

It’s hard to enjoy coffee when most of what you read is unappetizing.

Someone once told me that it wouldn’t quite be a newspaper if all it printed was good news. Well, another friend is thinking of putting up a paper that does just that, so I guess we’ll see if the observation holds true.

Q: Are we hardwired to delight in horror, scandal and the unsightly? Must the nature of the news titillate, shock or disgust to attract our attention? Or can we teach our hearts to be gladdened by less-earthshaking news of a positive nature?

A: I am as guilty of the next person. When I pick up a paper or go to a news site, I find myself looking for a degree of bad news. But I also look for things that interest me, and invariably these are the odd little things, not necessarily good news, but stuff that pricks my brain.

Would I buy a newspaper that published only good news? Honestly, probably not. The cynic in me suspects that despite its truth in terms of actually occurring, I’d consider it escapist fare.

Can I change my mind? Sure, if the good news is written in an engaging way that does not reek of saccharine feel-good fuddy-duddyness.



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