Judith Halliday

Joy to the World

The local news is good ...

Posted on: 18/12/2014   By: Judith Halliday

When you've finished spluttering your coffee everywhere, get your breath back, give the screen a wipe and hear me out - as I explain to you exactly why a journalist should be expounding on the theme of bringing joy to the world ...

joy to the world, the local news is good

joy to the world, the local news is good

But it's all doom and gloom on the news, I hear you say. Death and disaster, recessions and riots, murders and misfortune - it's all there is in the papers these days.

Firstly, and perhaps unfortunately, big news stories are often bad news stories. There aren't many news editors around that would make room on the front page for a pleasant little story about how there's no wars in Switzerland at the moment, and everyone is just plodding on doing very nicely thank you. And if they did, no one would read it.

We want - and need - to know what's happening in Afghanistan, and what's going on with the Euro, how many people here at home are without jobs and living with debt and worry, and whether the Middle East is still fighting its way to what we hope and pray will be a peace unthinkable just a few short years ago. The media reports such things so that we all know what's going on around us. Burying your head is an option, but not a particularly sensible one.

But look further, especially at your local newspaper. Of course, it's all doom and gloom. Apart from the father who's running six marathons to raise money for the special care unit that saved his baby's life. And the couple who've made it to 70 years wed and are still happy enough to have their picture taken together. And the children devoting hours of their time to keep the Gang Show tradition going. And the sheer colour and life in the picture special celebrating the mad things our community did to raise thousands for Children In Need.

In the business world, for every factory closing because of lost orders, there's the story of a new business opening by someone working their socks off to fill a gap in the market. There's the shoe factory celebrating 125 years, and the company in a tiny unit on an industrial estate that's just won a massive order with a multi-national.

Bad news is all around us, we can't ignore it and we need to know about it. But good news is all around us, too. Let's celebrate it, tell the world, do what we can to redress the balance and pair up every ounce of doom and gloom with a little bit of recognition of the good things that go on in our lives.

This all reminds me of 1993, when newsreader Martyn Lewis made his own headlines when he suggested that news coverage should be more positive, and the Have I Got News For You team greeted it with the suggested headline "Good news for glaziers - a bloody big bomb just went off". No, it doesn't always work out, but we can try ...

Have a very happy Christmas.

Until next time ...


More about Judith Halliday ...

My writing career began under the bright lights of Gateshead in 1986 - who wouldn't love a job that offered the chance to listen to Gateshead Borough Council's Public Waste Committee debate the introduction of wheelie bins for three hours? It was the start of a working life that taught me what makes a good story and how to tell it and, although I don't have a news editor lurking ready to throw things at me any more, or so much of an interest in wheelie bins, my love of writing and a fascination with talking to people and telling their stories is as strong as ever.

Today I work for Business Times in Northampton and the Northants Evening Telegraph as well as providing copywriting services and press releases for a number of local companies.

When I'm not doing that, I indulge in the things I love most, which include, in no particular order: my teenage children, Sunderland football club, my husband, chocolate, QI, Chinese noodles, my closest friends, Test Match Special, red wine, reading in bed, The Sound of Music and growing vegetables.


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