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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Bad News

I picked up this morning's paper and was struck with the headline in the business section - screaming out that existing home sales "plunged" 25% from the same period last year. The article went on to report that the inventory of homes to be sold hadn't changed much though, and prices only dropped 1%. If less people want to sell their homes and prices are holding, how bad is this news?

In another headline, a local golf course is shutting down, going out of business. There were pictures and the story went on about how sad everyone was that it was closing. They talked about the wonderful memories there. It was a tear-jerking story. Until you get to the bottom (if you stayed with it that long) and discover the reason the golf course is closing. (Heretofore you were led to believe it was a financial failure.) It turns out the property has been sold to developers for a healthy profit and the owner will be able to retire more than comfortably.

Why isn't the news spun a little better than it is? Let's see a newspaper headlines that say something like, "Despite a 25% decrease in transaction volume, inventory of existing homes for sale and prices are holding steady." Or let's have a headline that celebrates the success of a golf course owner who's been able to cash out. Let's face it, the man has done very well indeed.

What is there about the news that makes the editors want to find the worst angle on any story --- and spin it with that angle? What would the world be like if we all worked to put things in the best (and most realistic) perspective possible?

Don't get me wrong. The world is a nasty place. I know it. You know it. But is it really helpful for us to be so chronically focused on the negatives all the time? At what cost do we overlook the positives? Might we be missing opportunities in life - because all we're looking at are the threats?

I think I should like to start my own newspaper. I'd call it "The Truth & Hope Journal." As the editor in chief, I would be brutally honest about truth. But I'm pretty sure that honest views of things would include some very fine positives. My mission would be to make sure that people aren't ignorant about the world we live in. My mission would be ensure that people see the possibilities and opportunities - while they learn to manage the threats and overcome the weaknesses.

Do you think I could become financially viable in the newspaper business?

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