Accentuate the positive!

I’ve been following the mainstream media (MSM) news coverage less and less these days.  Too much focus on negativity, celebrity culture, and attack politics.  A few examples from today’s morning lead stories (national):

  1. A plane crash in Montana.
  2. An economic story with a “will any of this really work” tone to the interview questions.
  3. Investigative report on banks using corporate jets, more to follow on longer report tonight (boy, can’t wait for that!)
  4. “Smiley Face” killer story; no update on who it might be, just a revisit of story and interview from nearly a year ago.


  1. Fatal crash involving cyclist from last night.
  2. Prison guard on trial for sex crimes.
  3. U of WI and Marquette both lose in NCAA tournament play.

Some positive stories or angles with potential positive spin, that either weren’t covered or were buried several pages in:

  1. UW women’s hockey team wins 3rd national championship in 4 years – is on p. 8 of the local sports pages.
  2. Retief Goosen wins first PGA event in nearly 4 years (p. 8 of sports as well).
  3. Find information and cover companies that are succeeding in tough times.  They’re out there (hint: don’t just follow big business and public firms).
  4. Cover weather when it’s not just storms wreaking havoc.  How about a list of Top 10 picks of places with great 7-day advance forecasts?
  5. Local examples of companies, schools, community services that are making a positive difference.  Again, they’re out there, let’s hear more about them.

Thomas Friedman wrote an op-ed piece in NYT this weekend, “Are We Home Alone?”, where he puts forth a call to action to leaders to inspire more positive energy.  He quotes Dov Seidman, CEO of LRN, “Laws tell you what you can do.  Values inspire in you what you should do.  It’s a leader’s job to inspire in us those values.”  We need our leaders, at all levels, to inspire more.

Life is not always a bed of roses and I’m not advocating that we ignore the significant problems and challenges facing us these days.  However, I think we need more leaders with the courage to speak out about what’s working and stop hiding behind attack politics and the blame game.  To me this includes the media.  Much of MSM will likely stay the path of negative, sensationalist stories because they’ve convinced themselves that this sells.  Why don’t some within MSM take it upon themselves to go a different, positive direction – set the lead, stop following!

Finding fault and criticizing others is easy to do.  Figuring out what works, playing to our strengths, and staying on task related to ideals that really matter is harder but worth it in the long run.  All of us can help drive positive change if we start thinking about the positive changes we can affect in the world.  Stop watching and reading the MSM negative stories is a start; read and link others to positive ideas and thoughts online; help and encourage others around you; do some volunteer work; teach a kid a new skill; mentor a new co-worker; etc.

As I type this, I’m sitting in a Starbucks where the barista is greeting customers with “have a marvelous  Monday!” – on a rainy day no less.  We need more of that type of attitude right now.

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