It’s not all bad news

I’ve just stumbled upon this great TEDx talk by Amal Al Dahouk. I highly recommend it anyone interested in Lebanon and how news is covered and disseminated in general.

It’s in Arabic, so here a few of the points for those that couldn’t follow:

Al Dahouk argues that good or inspiring news stories can be equally if not more impactful and newsworthy than bad news ones. But because positive stories rarely generate media interest, they also rarely reach households, even other activists and thus have little influence over public opinion.

This is especially true in Lebanon, where local and international viewers’ attention is often focused on isolated and unrepresentative events that generate intense anxiety, speculation and the constant flow of essentializing  questions like “How do you see the situation in Lebanon,” and “Is it safe?”

Al Dahouk urges news media to pursue more comprehensive coverage of events taking place in the country. She recommends viewers do three things: exercise doubt about how stories are covered and why they are covered; seek a variety of sources including non-mainstream sources such as blogs, and participate in spreading the word about positive stories.

I couldn’t agree more and would hope that more Lebanese citizens will take Al Dahouk’s advice to launch their own media sites, be they blogs, twitter accounts or Facebook pages. As I’ve argued in the past, mainstream local media are largely beholden to their fears of not covering elites and thus have little time left in their bulletins to publish actual news about the lives and livelihoods of their audiences.