A common grouse against Indian media is that the news channels and newspapers are full of negative news such as crime, corruption and scams, making readers feel that all that is happening in society is negative.
Every morning we wake up to news of horrifying murders, rapes, abductions, and corruption splashed across the newspaper and think, “What a horrible start to the day! This must end.”
Readers often start the day on a negative note and, at times, with a depressed feeling. This is quite in contrast to the general wave of optimism sweeping the country. Today, India is one of the most youthful nations in the world. And in a young, resilient nation riding on a wave of change and optimism, it is important that the impact of “negative news” is minimised.
“No Negative News” is good news for all of us
Negative news is synonymous with almost any news today. The much beloved and respected former President of India, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, too, lamented that Indian media was negative when there is so much good to discuss and spread around.
What the former President said holds true — not only for a nation but also for us as people, professionals, and families.
Positivity is key to shunning negativity and embracing happiness
The happiness industry has exploded in recent years. According to a November 3, 2010, article at PsycologyToday.com, there were 50 books on happiness released in the year 2000. By contrast, there were 4,000 such articles published in 2008.
Everywhere you look today you see Web sites, blogs, articles, movies, documentaries, classes, and seminars about finding happiness and holding on to it. We retain therapists to explore our unhappiness and ways to solve it. We hire life coaches to make detailed road maps that will lead us towards unadulterated bliss.
We blog about it, tweet about it, hope for it, dream about it, look for it, plan for it, work toward it, and analyse it all the while.
According to the World Happiness Report 2015, published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), a global initiative for the United Nations, India is ranked 117th out of 158 countries based different indicators of happiness.
We compare ourselves to other people — their jobs, families, adventures, and relative freedom from the responsibilities that tie us down. Somewhere in this race of desiring, acquiring, and having, one has to pause and look for an answer, right?
Are we really happy? How does one find happiness? Is there a way to throw out the negativity? The happiest people are those who take responsibility for creating their own joy and leaving negativity behind them.
“No Negative Monday”: Sustainably delivering positivity
Taking the cue from this dissatisfaction about negative news and understanding its responsibility as a credible newspaper, Dainik Bhaskar — India’s largest circulated (ABCI Jan-Jun2015) and the world’s fourth-largest (WAN/IFRA) newspaper— has pioneered a change never witnessed in the history of media anywhere in the world.
With a belief that sensationalising the news is not the only way to sell, the group launched its “No Negative Monday” campaign.
Knowing that readers like to start their weeks on a positive note, the group set the initiative for Mondays, since it is the first day of the week and the day that people plan their whole week. The initiative promoted positive news in all of its 61 editions, in 14 states each Monday using the following approaches:
- Positivity in negative news: Instead of presenting negative news as it is, efforts are made to find the “positive” in negative news and present it to readers.
- Stories of hope: With a belief that positive change begins with a positive mindset, the initiative brings stories of hope to our readers.
- Negative stories with clear header: As a responsible newspaper, Dainik Bhaskar does not shelter its 44 million readers from negative news. Rather, it publishes relevant, negative stories under a clear negative news header with the caveat that it was something readers needed to know.
- Good news labeling: To be really happy, one needs is a positive attitude and mindfulness. Since good news can be a triggering factor for this, all good news is marked with a clear header.
Extending product philosophy to readers’ lives
Dainik Bhaskar took this campaign and went a step further by extending its product philosophy to readers’ lives through the “No Negative Life” initiative. Under this initiative, every Monday, Dainik Bhaskar publishes a half page comprised of positive and inspiring articles for readers.
Also, a series of print ads (including topical ads) and an inspirational video was published to instill positivity and its impact in improving one’s mindset towards better life and society. So far, the video has generated 0.8 million views
Results: If you want to be happy, start reading positive news
On January 18, 2016, on the first anniversary of “No Negative Monday,” Ipsos — a global market research agency based in France — together with Market Sapience, conducted research to understand the impact of positive stories on readers’ lives. The research covered eight cities with a sample size of 1250 readers, divided equally into two groups.
One group was given Dainik Bhaskar’s “No Negative Monday” edition, while the second group was given another newspaper to read. The survey was administered four hours after the participants read their respective newspapers. According to this research, the initiative has played a fundamental role in adding happiness to people’s lives in the following ways:
- 81% of readers who woke up to positive news remained happy and motivated for long hours after consuming the news.
- 79% of readers who started their day with positive news were satisfied with the way they spent their day, motivated to achieve their desires, and felt content with their lives.
- 78% of newspaper readers who consume positive news in the morning feel more motivated and well-prepared to do their work more effectively by giving their best. Additionally, they feel like doing more towards betterment of the society.
- 75% of positive news readers are of the opinion that they have a bright future in this country.
- 68% felt that world is full of good people.
The research attests that positive news not only benefits people’s well-being but also empowers them to contribute constructively towards inclusive growth in society.
So start reading positive news as it is good for one’s health and wellbeing and would go a long way in helping you to respond constructively to issues, rather than being left with feeling hopeless.