Dispatches from a Reporter's Notebook

Happy News

Posted January 16, 2009

Not a day goes by when people don't ask me why we don't do more "happy news."  I try to explain to them news is what is different and unique, and most of the time that means something negative like a murder, a fire, an accident, a scandal...you get the picture.

But every once in awhile a "happy news" story comes along that grabs national headlines.  "The Miracle on the Hudson" is that story.   A plane crashes into a river and everyone lives, it's not something that happens every day.  The story has all of the elements that tug at our heartstrings-people afraid they might die, making calls to their loved ones, battling the frigid waters of the Hudson to survive.  And then there are the Good Samaritans helping each other get off the plane and the brave rescuers plucking the passengers from certain hypothermia in the icy water.  The best part of course is the heroic pilot who made a split second decision in an emergency situation and ultimately saved 155 lives.  It just doesn't get any better than this.

Especially at a time where most of the news seems to focus on the faltering economy I'm starting to think maybe we do need more happy news.   If negative news can collectively depress us like watching unemployment rise and the DOW fall, then maybe happy news can collectively lift our spirits.

Are you over it yet?  Have you had enough of the wall-to-wall coverage of the plane in the river on every network?  One friend asked me today how long I though it was going to go on.  I pointed out to him if it were a negative story-say about an earthquake or a terrorist attack- he wouldn't be asking that question.  In hindsight he agreed.  Maybe we all need a little dose of happy news once in awhile.  It certainly couldn't hurt.  Who knows, I might even try it on for size...  

About this Blog:

WRAL's Amanda Lamb offers a behind-the-scenes look at what TV news reporters do, the people they meet and how their jobs affect them.