The spread of good news
BUSINESS MATTERS (BEYOND THE BOTTOM LINE) - Francis J. Kong (The Philippine Star) - May 9, 2020 - 12:00am

It is always interesting to listen to quotes and comments about the news and its reporting. One news reporter says: “The bad news is that 50 people died in a hotel fire. The good news is that we have exclusive coverage,” says Jessica Savitch. Tracy Morgan says: “Bad news travel like the speed of light. Good news travel like Molasses.” Peter McWilliams says: “The news media are, for the most part, the bringers of bad news... and it’s not entirely the media’s fault, bad news gets higher ratings and sells more papers than good news.”

As a little boy, I distinctly remember a newscaster opening his news program with “From the NORTH, EAST, WEST, and SOUTH here is the N.E.W.S.!” That was clever. And I thought to myself, “Wow! That's what NEWS really means.” Trapped in our homes, glued to the screen, we watch the news for hours. We want to know what is happening and we are hoping for some good news that somebody would declare that the curve is flattening. That things will go back to normal, and that we would all resume the life we used to live before this virus came and rudely disrupted our lives. But that is not the news we see, and honestly, that is not what is going to happen. What we see is the rising number of infections, people dying, citizens protesting, and it gets into us. We are easily affected by the negative emotions of the newscasters we are watching. Without our conscious knowledge, our faces may start mimicking theirs, and the harmful infections begin. Joining the ranting and the bashing through social media does not add value to our mental health, and in doing so, the negativity virus infections take place.

Medical and public health leaders are working as hard as they can to prevent the further spread of the virus, and we need to heed their advice. The stuff we see in the news does not only cover medical and health issues. They also bring us endless streams of joblessness reports, unemployment, factory closures, rising political tension between countries, and the imminent threat of a massive market crash. All these things can get to us.

Experts in emotional intelligence are giving out warnings that there is another contagion we need to watch out for. And if this is left alone, it will run rampant and make things worse. This building up of negativity in our mind and thoughts would lead to mental health stresses in the coming days unless we flatten its curve and infect ourselves with more positive thoughts and things.

In my webinars, I have cautioned participants from taking in too much news in their system. While there is a need to be informed and to be updated, there is no need to be glued to the screen listening to the same news cycles repeated, perhaps in different ways by different personalities. We need to curb the intake of the news.

There is a hunger for inspiration and encouragement. Perhaps this is why John Krasinski’s “Some Good News” is trending like crazy. His first episode generated some 17 million views, and subsequent programs featuring good things happening to good people continue to command millions of views. John Krasinski is the tall guy in that old sitcom starring Steve Carell “The Office.” He also played the lead character in the Amazon Prime Video series “Jack Ryan.” I like him and people like him because people need to have a “Good News Infection.”

When you see how jet planes flew over the skies of New York City to pay tribute to frontliners and health care workers, you are inspired. You see community residents going out to help the elderly by buying groceries and medicine for them. That’s good news, and you are encouraged. You watch chorale, singers, artists using zoom platform doing acapella and singing songs that touch the heart – that’s good news. This is not being cheesy; this is putting sanity into our lives and infecting ourselves with inspiration that can help carry us through these difficult times.

I watched and listened to Gary Valenciano’s “Take me Out of The Dark” rendition on YouTube, and it brings tears to my eyes. So many international critics and commentators had their jaw dropped while others fought back the tears as they listened to his song and followed the lyrics. These are the infections we need to have as our hearts are encouraged, our souls refreshed. I need it and you need it too.

The Good News of them all is that God is with us and He promises He will never leave us nor forsake us. Perhaps this is the message the world needs today.

(Connect with Francis Kong in www.facebook.com/franciskong2. Or listen to “Business Matters” Monday to Friday 8:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. over 98.7 DZFE-FM 'The Master's Touch', the classical music station.)

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