Stress looks normal and becomes an inseparable part of your life when you constantly start consuming negative news of violence, hatred, and fear. And before you can realize, the damage is done when you fail to separate the right from the wrong.
Will a positive news attract the same attention? Chances are less, given the present scenario of the society. Why? Because everybody knows what an ‘acquired taste‘ is and when the Negative news is served before you day after day, you probably start liking it in some way or the other. Even watching the traumatic events and negative stories can create “emotional aftershocks”.
In a mission to stop the overflow of negative information, a man has dared to go against the tide by bringing India’s First Positive Newspaper to people. Life Beyond Numbers, which shares the same thought about promoting positive news, got in touch with Piyush Ghosh, one of the founders of The Optimist Citizen, who asks, “Why we have to serve negative stories on the plate when there is so much good happening around?”
Piyush says, “I am following newspapers since childhood and most of the time I came across negative news and I never liked them.” The problem is people fail to realize, how negative news can contribute to a series of negative thoughts and this is even worse in the case of the children.
“It is necessary to show people that there is so much good happening around because it inspires them to do good and give them the courage to fight in difficult situations or help people in need. It increases acceptance and tolerance among people, which contributes a lot to a peaceful society,” he says.
Apart from Piyush, Tennyson Matthews (26) and Tuhin Kumar Sen (25) are the co-founders of The Optimist Citizen. The office consists of 5 staff members but the stories are gaining acceptance slowly and today they have more than 250 people contributing to their stories from across India.
“There is no need to create hysteria among people. I remember one of my acquaintance committing suicide after watching a report on rape. For anyone to endure sexual violence is traumatic enough and to watch it or read it because of the reporting and sensationalizing of it in the public means going through that torture again. It can contribute to the self-destructive behavior in a few people.”
However, the stories which find a place in this newspaper are not only feel good stories but we also want people to take actions if there is something negative in the society. So, after publishing, the reporters and the readers get in touch and collaborate with each other to solve a crisis in some way or the other.
Piyush says, “the stories which we publish are subjective and not objective. We don’t preach anything. Readers can have different perspectives and you get to decide your set of rights and wrongs. We don’t tell people what to think.”
Adding to this, he says, “I think the news media blows things out of proportion and therefore people should be careful about what they are consuming.” There is no harm in highlighting the problems of the society, but one should also feel accountable enough to come up with solutions.
There is a need to consider the world as one big family. When a media is paid to highlight a certain community in a negative manner, the damage is not done to a particular group, but to the humanity.
Peace activist Peace Pilgrim once said, “If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought.” It is high time that we should abide by this thought.
Most of us don’t give it a thought before spending money, so why can’t we feel a bit accountable and spend some on Journalism? If that happens, a media house won’t have to bother about its sponsors and publish content that is not newsworthy. It will be a blessing because be it print or digital media, the media house won’t have to look in the wrong places for support to function smoothly.
The newspaper officially came out in July 2015, but the idea was conceptualized on October 2014. It’s been 3 years and the organization is growing which says people are not skeptical about good news or positive stories. Also, these stories are not restricted to India, there are lots of global stories as well.
On asking what will he do if newspapers become obsolete in future? Ghosh says, “A newspaper will always find a reader and there are many people who cannot imagine their life without newspapers.”
The 23-year old hails from Madhya Pradesh, which is known as the “Heart of India” and his noble initiative will keep India’s heart healthy for a long long time.