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Are we turning all news negative? Why is it we only want to hear the bad stuff?

Flipping open the newspaper on the bus to work and once again I’m met with a murder or kidnapping; why do we want to read it every morning? It’s not as if my morning isn’t probably bad enough already, having to drag myself out of bed for such a busy day in a hot stuffy office with people I don’t like. Yet I still have to read these depressing stories.

The British media seems to be determined to ruin the general public’s day; we don’t hear about someone winning an award very often do we? We don’t wake up, turn on the radio or television, to be greeted by a beaming athlete who’s just won the gold, or a family with obvious financial difficulties winning the lottery and changing their lives forever. Instead we wake up to the same old news reporter with the same dreary tone reeling off the catastrophes of the world.

Weather reports are a prime example of this; it’s quite obvious that the British people are never happy with the weather no matter what it’s like, but does this really give the media an excuse to blacken even the brightest of forecasts? A heatwave spreading across Britain is a catastrophe, droughts are going to spread across the country, forest fires are likely to occur; is there anybody who’s happy when summer comes along?

It’s not all bad though is it? The bad weather that we experience seems to be sensationalised and when the snow comes we’re all ecstatic; days off school, work etc. We’re outside playing with our families, building snowmen and having snowball fights, because we only see this weather once a year if we’re lucky. From a recent linguistic study “How Do Newspapers Report Warm and Cold Weather? Are There Any Significant Differences?” it has been found that “warm weather is made negative. This is because it needs to be made newsworthy whereas with cold weather there needs to be more focus on the positive aspects”.

But then again, this doesn’t last long does it? As soon as there’s an accident on the motorway due to the bad weather or someone breaks a bone it’s immediately turned into something evil, the snow is no longer idolised and we all go back to isolating ourselves; relishing in the safety of our homes.

Now, everyone in Britain loves the sun, why else would we all holiday abroad? But when we get some here, in our own country, we’re no longer prepared for it. We all scramble to the shops to buy stocks of water so we don’t dehydrate; piles and piles of sun-cream so we don’t fry. News reports come along saying not to leave our animals locked in our cars without the window slightly open, we’re urged to drink water in order to keep hydrated so we don’t get sun-stroke. I for one don’t understand this as when the British go abroad none of us care for any of this. We sit with our oil on soaking up the sun trying to get to best tan we can; but when we get good weather in Britain we suddenly become a nation of vampires hiding away so our delicate skin doesn’t burn.

Why exactly is it that we want to hear the bad news: maybe it’s because we like to have proof that we’re not the only ones having a bad day or is it because we are such a pessimistic nation and don’t have a positive word to say about anything? Every piece of media is filled with negativity from BBC news all the way through to social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

However, we haven’t thought of the obvious here, these newspaper companies, news programmes etc. all have to make a profit; if they are giving us good news all the time we’re going to end up getting fed up and not want to hear about it anymore, we would complain about it just as we do now, it would be the same old news every day, people’s lives are better than mine blah blah blah.

So, let’s look at it another way. Have a think, 90% of the news that we hear and read is negative, but that 10% of good news is what makes us smile in the morning. We realise that not everything is bad and there are some good things out there, so is it all just a technique to make us all feel 10 times better about ourselves? That the world isn’t just a bad place?

Our lives are run by the world around us, our emotions tend to be manipulated around the news that we hear and so by hearing negative news for the majority of the time when we do get that small bit of good news it seems like it’s absolutely wonderful, nobody could do better.

Are we turning all news bad? The answer is no, we’re not. We’re simply sharing what is going on in the world but focusing on the negative aspects in order to make the good news sound more extravagant than it actually is. Also, in David Crystal’s English Language Encyclopaedia he stated that weather reports are “reduced to [their] bare essentials”, so the depressing news we read is because it has to be cut short due to publishing restrictions.

Why is it that we always want to hear bad news? I for one don’t want to always hear it, but I wouldn’t want to hear good news everyday either, I’d get sick and tired of hearing about people’s perfect lives. That is why there is a split in the amount of news that is shown, it isn’t an obvious or fair divide, but it is there and this gives us all a small amount of hope in life as we turn on the news and flip open our newspapers.