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Good News, Bad News

Pete Springer/OPB

“I can’t stand all the bad news!”

That’s something I’ve heard a lot from people — even before the credit crunch and global economic meltdown. War, car accidents, foreclosures, you know the stuff.  Why does so much of the news we hear or read seem to be “bad news?”

We’re going to try to get at that question by discussing the “news values” that often determine whether or not something makes the news. And we’ll also look at professional standards and the cultural assumptions beneath the news. News is produced by people after all.

A number of organizations have devoted themselves to producing positive news: Yes! Magazine in Bainbridge Island, WA; Ode in California; and the just-launched Goodness Magazine in Portland, OR.

But what does positive news mean? Will what you think of as good news be good news to me? Other than stress relief, what value is there in good news? Could too much good news crowd out the unpleasant news that we need to know to be informed?

Do you get depressed hearing or reading the news? What do you do about it if anything? Do you seek out good news in your media diet? If so where do you get it? Is there a place for more good news in the mainstream media?


  • Jim Upshaw: Professor of Journalism and Communication and University of Oregon who spent 22 years in broadcasting as a reporter and foreign correspondent in Japan for NBC
  • Sarah Van Gelder: Executive editor of YES! Magazine
  • Rod Gramer: Executive news director for KGW News Channel 8
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