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All the news that’s fit to print

The slogan has been used by the New York Times ever since its adoption in 1896. Perhaps because of the NYT’s influence, the message seems to have sunk deep into the world’s collective psyche, and most people believe themselves to be well informed if they read a newspaper, whatever their choice may be, every day. But of course, the day is short, the world is large, and reporters and editors are human too, working to tight deadlines. They are just as beholden to the people who provide cash flow (advertisers; often large, powerful companies) as any office employee to her boss.

And so some of the news that’s fit to print never makes it to print or into the media. It’s hard to bite the hand that feeds even though the reporter might know it deserves a good nip on occasion. The example came powerfully home to me many years ago when I visited an orphanage that was run in exemplary manner; in the best way such an institution could possibly be run. I remarked to the director how relieved I was to know that such fine institutions existed, having seen a devastating documentary just a week earlier, broadcast by a sender of high repute. She perked her ears immediately.
“Oh, was it by so-and-so?” she asked.
“Yes. How did you know?”
“They were here a year ago, while filming the documentary. I suggested they report about this place instead of showing only the negative stories, but they weren’t interested.”

So on top of financial pressures, there is reporter bias as well. Many reporters seem to think that only bad news sells. If the customer is king, then its up to us, the readers to stop buying all the crappy news that’s published. Here are a few good news websites below. This is only a tentative list. There are plenty more out there to look at or, better still, create your own for a guaranteed improvement in your quality of life. Despite its ills, the world is still a beautiful place, and one shouldn’t begin each day with a daily dose of despair.


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