Good News Is Bad News For News Portals
Russian News Website Reports All Good News For A Day
Newspapers and news portals report bad news everyday, focusing on crimes and accidents. Although bad news can damper anyone’s mood, there is a good reason behind this, and a Russian news website learned the hard way.
In a social experiment, the Russian news website the City Reporter only published good news for an entire day. The company asked its readers a simple question a day before the experiment.
“Do you feel like you are surrounded by negative information? You don’t want to read the news in the morning? Do you think good news is a myth? We’ll try to prove the opposite tomorrow!”
On December 1, the City Reporter only reported good news as promised. All the headlines had a positive tone, such as “No Disruption on the Roads Despite Snow.”
Despite their efforts to publish only good news, the website lost two-thirds of its audience that day, BBC News reports. It seems that good news is not enough to interest readers.
According to Metro the website’s Deputy Editor, Viktoriya Nekrasova, was disappointed that the social experiment did not turn out the way they expected.
“We looked for positives in the day’s news, and we think we found them. But it looks like almost nobody needs them. That’s the trouble.”
She also thanked all the readers who stayed with them through their day of reporting only good news. A day after the experiment, the news website decided to go back to their more reliable headlines, “Car Crashes and Burst Water Pipes.”
Why are people attracted to bad news? In a study conducted by the Pew Research Center for People and the Press, researchers found out that people who closely followed the news dropped from 30 percent to 23 percent from the 1980s to the 1990s, and then boosted back up to 30 percent in the 21st century.
According to the study’s author, Michael J. Robinson, this has nothing to do with the media outlets used. The readership has something to do with the news stories.
“The ’80s were more ‘interesting'; the ’90s, less so; the 00’s have been most interesting so far.”
While some people might argue that bad news allows people to act and make the world a more positive place, some might also say that negative news can leave people leaving hopeless.
News websites have different motivations for spreading bad news, but as evidenced by the recent social experiment, good news does not sell as much as bad news. The case may be different for social media websites, however, where the video of a cute puppy can spread as quick as wildfire.