Leading with the good news

This time of year, it’s natural to think ahead to the new year that lies ahead of us. Fresh, new, unwritten and utterly thrilling. Bursting with possibilities, new chances, clean slates, and a record of previous failures soon forgotten.

We think about the changes we are going to make, the mistakes we won’t repeat, the resolutions we are absolutely, for real, no, seriously going to keep this year. And we think about all the things that happened over the past year.

As I watched the news tonight, they did a segment in which they recapped all the “sleazeballs” of 2011. They actually used that word. Recounting the stories of the year’s biggest scandals. This was after I had sat through 10 minutes at the beginning of the broadcast about shootings, car crashes, armed robberies and the like, in which I counted at least seven fatalities.

How depressing. What a way to think of the end of one year and the beginning of the next. No wonder so many Facebook statuses of late have been along the lines of “Good riddance 2011.”

Buried in the slew of depressing news was a story about a flight of soldiers who returned to BWI this evening, greeted by a crowd of 200+, cheering, waving American flags, saluting them, giving them high fives and hugs, and thanking them for their service to our country. Why can’t that be the leading story? One of appreciation, hope and kindness.

As a journalist, I know the theory that “if it bleeds, it leads,” but as a human, I have issues with that.

That’s why this year, I am focusing on the good that happened in 2011. I am not focusing on the fact that I was unemployed for half the year, that I was injured for two months, that I battled depression, that my family and friends experienced illnesses and losses. All those things happened, yes.

But instead, I am focusing on the fact that I (and my family and friends) survived those challenges. We came out on the other side, stronger and better for the wear and tear. We learned to appreciate each other and the gifts we have been given.

I encourage each of you to think about the good…no, the great things that happened to you this year. You may have had, pardon the language, really shitty times in 2011, but you got through it. And I hope that you can think back on these past 12 months with a smile and some laughter, in spite of the difficult times.

Next time someone asks you if you want the bad news or good news first, choose the good! Push that happy, uplifting story to the leading 10 minutes of your newscast as 2011 ends.

After all, the world’s gonna end on my old roommate’s birthday next year anyway, so why are we looking forward to 2012 so much? 😉

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