The good, the bad: The news business

After nearly 32 years in the news business, I can tell you this: There are days when I go home and try to “wash” my brain of some of the stories I have read and of some I have written.

That was especially true when covering local “hard” news was more my assignment than the features that most often come my way today.

My “washing” technique usually involves great music, a good book and a feline friend or three to cuddle. Sadly, it doesn’t always work to clear my head of some of the horror stories one comes across being in this profession.

Reading The Associated Press wire can be an achingly difficult proposition on any given morning. For instance, as my fingers hit the keys typing this column, out of the 15 latest stories sent through to us in the AP nation folder, here are the identifying lines of seven: priest investigation; boy escalator death, convenience store crash; homicide beheading; motel body missing girl; 10-year-old shot; and Washington mudslide.

News, of course, deals with tragedy all the time. When something terrible happens, it’s our job to report it.

Through the years, various people have told me that’s why they hate “the media” because “all you do is report bad news.”

Which is not true, of course. It seems that way sometimes, I know. But here locally and out there nationally and internationally, many among that oft derided media strives to tell “good news” stories as well.

With all that’s in me, I wish no one would be kidnapped, tortured, murdered, assaulted … and on and on. If only that bad stuff never ever happened, this world of course would be a much better place.

But it does happen. Every day. In every part of our world, even in the somewhat isolated Upper Peninsula. We are not immune from the tragedies that occur and the atrocities that are committed by one human being upon another.

All that being said, we in the media often do excellent work in presenting stories of hope, of courage, of redemption, of compassion, sometimes right within reporting on tragedies.

For instance, in the latest Washington mudslide story sent as I write this column, the AP writer told of a visit to the scene made by some players from the Seattle Seahawks NFL squad and Seattle Sounders soccer team.

It might seem a minor thing but to know these athletes are reaching out is a tiny bright spot in a horrible situation.

“To be able to offer a little bit of a release or a distraction from what’s going on, I mean that’s all you can do,” Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smith said in the AP story.

Amen.

If you’re a fan of “good news” stories, keep reading/watching/listening to them. Please respond to these pieces by letting the powers that be at all media outlets know these stories are followed and appreciated.

The media must report the bad news, but for most of us – and I know enough of my colleagues and their kind hearts to say this with conviction – we want to report good news, too.

Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253.