Sharing the good news from South Africa

When I was a journalist, many years ago now, it never really occurred to me that we spent much more time on “bad news” than on “good news”. In fact, sometimes people caricatured the “good news” attempts as being Pollyanna-ish; they thought “good” news was not really news.

But these days, as I spend so much time on the web, I really appreciate the “good news” sites. It provides a healthy balance to the daily diet of so much “bad news” in the media – what my friend Jim Lord calls “deficit thinking”, and what he replaces with “appreciative thinking”.

One example is South Africa: The Good News. It’s a website that focuses on positive developments in South Africa. Here’s how they describe themselves and their work:

We are well aware of the challenges that we face and the extent of these challenges. We address these challenges full on, but we choose to concentrate on the solution, rather than the problem

Bad news sells. That is a global reality and it is no different in South Africa. Arguably, the news mass media tend to focus on the bad news and largely ignore the positive developments in this county, creating an “information imbalance”. This imbalance fuels the perception that bad news is predominant in South Africa, whereas the reality is that we have many reasons to be exceptionally proud of our country’s recent past and optimistic about our future.

And here’s one example of that good news in action, from Nov. 11, 2008:

The City of Johannesburg was among the world’s cities who were recognised for their efforts in tackling pressing environmental concerns in the 2008 World’s Most Liveable Communities Awards. The awards are endorsed by the United Nations Environment Programme and are hosted annually by LivCom. The UK-based organisation aims to promote the environmental management and community liveability of the world’s cities. The 2008 awards took place in Dongguan, China on Monday.

Johannesburg was the only South African and African city to feature among this year’s winners taking home a total of five awards. Among these awards was the Criteria Award for Planning for the Future. This is given to the city that best demonstrates the use of sensitive and creative planning techniques for the creation of a sustainable, liveable community.

Johannesburg came third overall in the Whole City Awards for the World’s Most Liveable Community with an average daytime population greater than 1 million. South Africa scored just below the Municipality of York, Canada and Jiang Yin, China in this category.

Read the rest of the story here. There are lots of “good news” stories in Africa. You can also find many such stories on Hopebuilding Wiki.

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