I was so cheered this morning to read a post from Melissa Fleming on Medium – As people retreat from news of doom, hope is more gripping than fear.
What she wrote:
“My job at the UN is to communicate the state of the world. To do so I could tell any number of terrifying and attention-grabbing stories. But in the long run, I’d begin to lose people. I’m increasingly working on the premise that gloom doesn’t keep people gripped. Hope does.
And there’s a growing body of evidence to back that up. A group of journalists say they have found a way to communicate problems without causing audiences to throw their hands up in despair. And this isn’t whitewashing, we can do so without shying away from reality.
The premise goes that news of an unfamiliar problem is easier to digest if it comes alongside a solution. Even better, by offering audiences concrete ways to help, we give them tools to fend off feelings of futility and apathy that problem-focused news can spark.
This solutions approach has even been shown to rebuild audience trust. That’s because it isn’t about putting a positive spin on stories or omitting the negative parts. It’s about redressing the positive-negative balance and seeking to tell the whole truth, warts and all.
Taking our cue from the Solutions Journalism Network, we’re introducing these methods at the UN, starting at the top. When UN Secretary General António Guterres speaks, he highlights solutions while explaining problems, and then appeals to the world to join the response.”
She has a wonderful podcast, Awake At Night, where she shares some of her stories. And there are other marvellous podcasts that will help you see the world as a solutions-focused place. Try Reasons to be Cheerful with Ed Miliband and Geoff Lloyd, or Vicki Robin’s What could possibly go right?