Why we need feel-good news

People ate this positive meme up for good reason. Before I unpack why I am a good news supporter, please watch this story from the CBS Evening News.

I love how news segments end with heartwarming stories like this one. It reminds viewers that amidst the world’s chaos there is still goodness, still hope. But I love Dan and Nora’s story from CBS not only for the feel-goodness — I love it because these are the stories I want to tell for the rest of my life. 

I’m not studying journalism at one of the top journalism schools in the country to become a no-name-news junkie. Someone else can coin the city council squabbles, tax hikes and construction conundrums. Someday, I will be a feature writer who brings people together, rather than tears them apart. 

And stories like Dan and Nora’s do just that — they bring people together. In three minutes, the story captivates an audience because it is different. While watching, a viewer’s laundry lists, paperwork piles and dirty dishes disappear. I would argue a news story should do that — completely submerge a viewer into the narrative, leaving them detached, yet evermore connected to the very world we live in.  

These stories stick because they serve as a reminder that this world is far bigger than ourselves. Nora did not even know Dan before her mom Tara’s grocery store trip. Like any Mom, Tara originally found the encounter embarrassing. Yet her 4-year-old daughter did something everyone can take note of. 

“She didn’t want anything from him,” Tara said. “She just wanted to make him feel loved and give him a hug.” 

Giving, without expecting anything in return, is a challenging concept for a non-four-year-old brain to comprehend. As one ages, the simplicity of wanting to give a stranger a hug just to give a stranger a hug often melts away, morphing into a me vs. the world mentality. Instead of giving without expectation, many wonder “what will I gain from this?” 

I am certain little Nora nor grieving Dan thought they would gain a friendship from a “hey old man” in the grocery store. Yet look at them now, positively impacting each other’s life in unimaginable ways. 

And that amazes me. I am fixated on uplifting stories because of their happenstance. I want to share feel-good stories not for my own personal gain, but for the gain of others.

Dan and Nora were able to remind the run-down, burnt-out Emma why she is attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the first place — remind her what the 5:45 a.m. wake up calls, the late library study sessions and the days of reading are all for. Because every test I take, paper I write and journalism lab I attend puts me one step closer to my dream. 

The uplifting stories at the end of news segments must be told. I will be the one to tell them.

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