“Good news is no news.” That’s the message most media want to give us, but veteran journalist of over 40 years Charles Groenhuijsen believes that’s a dramatic mistake, and reveals why there’s good reason for optimism.
Charles Groenhuijsen‘s thinks journalism should give a more long-term perspective
Charles Groenhuijsen, a journalist for over four decades, believes it’s time we realise that journalism is like a mirror. Viewers look in this mirror and they are supposed to see the world as it is… but they don’t. They see a mirror which is fogged up. It’s always the negative side of life. Groenhuijsen works hard to correct that mistake and, as a journalist, give a more long-term perspective.
“People should realise that being pessimistic about our world is a choice… optimism is a choice as well. It gives more energy. And eventually, with that kind of energy, we can make a better world for ourselves, for our children, our grandchildren.” — Charles Groenhuijsen Source: CharlesGroenhuijsen.com
“I’m an optimist because I look at the facts… It’s unbelievable what we accomplished…”
“What I see on TV all the time is a lot of noise. Breaking news. I like to focus on silent revolutions, but they are extremely important long-term. I’m an optimist because I look at the facts. Think about the decline in extreme poverty. It’s unbelievable what we accomplished in the last 25, 30 years… more than 100,000 people every day you come out of extreme poverty,” said veteran journalist Charles Groenhuijsen in an interview with BrightVibes.
Groenhuijsen challenges us to think about child mortality. Infant deaths have halved since 1990. Think about average life expectancy. In 1960, the average lifespan was 52.6 years. Today it’s 72 years. Think about average health in the world. That has improved tremendously. “An unbelievable amount of progress. And people don’t know it. They listen to the breaking news all the time and they really pay attention to these silent revolutions.”
“Sometimes I compare journalism with raising children. We raise children in a way that brings out the positive sides in them, things they do well.”
Imagine as a parent always telling the children what they’re doing wrong. If that’s the only message we have for our children, they going to end up as miserable people and negative people and probably angry people. “But this is exactly the way we treat, as journalists, the world. Because we say to the world, this is horrible. Oh, and tomorrow will be even worse with everything, with refugees and immigrants, with crime. And the consequence of this negative attitude is that people look at the world in a very negative way.”
Very often this plays to the fear of people. It makes them scared and angry. So it’s not just saying journalism is negative—it has huge consequences for society and for political choices.
“The basic difference I have with a lot of my colleagues is that they tend to amplify the bad stuff in the world. I would go for the opposite. amplify the good; without forgetting the bad, of course. I mean, we are journalists. You have to give a balanced picture. But it’s so unbalanced now.”
There are some big issues of course, and challenges. Think about the climate crisis, immigration, inequality. But at the same time, the progress in so many fields is unprecedented when it comes to basic human rights; education, sexual orientation, for women, for children, all the areas have seen vast improvements and many people don’t realise it.
Grownhuijsen continued: “If you stayed away from the negative focus and stay towards more positive, more constructive way of looking at things, I think journalism could make a better world. The problem is, journalists don’t consider it to be their task to make the world better. And maybe there is a basic difference of opinion I have with a lot of my colleagues. Yes, we are here to make a better world.”
“People should realise that being pessimistic about our world is a choice. Optimism is a choice as well. It gives more energy. And eventually, with that kind of energy, we can make a better world for ourselves, for our children, our grandchildren.”
We at BrightVibes share the same ethos, and strive to bring you positive and uplifting news items from around the world so you too can focus on all the wonderful things that are going right.
20 FAB FACTS & POSITIVE NEWS STORIES FROM 2019 YOU MAY HAVE MISSED
As many of these stories don’t make it to our social media feeds, we might easily get a negative view of the world and what’s happening. But at BrightVibes we like to focus on what’s going right, not what’s going wrong. Check out these positive news items from 2019.