The power of the Good News (retro 4/12)

By Laura Tomassini Switch to German for original article

Listen to this article

The Journal-team looks back at 2021 - Laura Tomassini continues. The past twelve months have been exciting, challenging and enriching, and they also mark our first digital birthday. To celebrate the occasion, each team member has chosen the piece whose research or production had the biggest impact on them in 2021.

The retrospective 2021 is provided to you free of charge. If you want to support our team, subscribe!

Right in the first semester of the media studies programme at the University of Trier, we got to know them: the so-called news value factors. As early as the 1920s, the American journalist Walter Lippmann identified ten characteristics that make an event newsworthy – including negativity. The more drama, damage and catastrophes, the more clicks. Because that's what people want to read. But do they? Really? Do we need negative news, media that bombard us with all the bad in the world and – thank you digital age! – from morning till night?

With a shy but now determined clearing of my throat, I dare to say: No. No, we don't want or need only negativity, especially after almost two years of Corona. Of course, there has to be investigative and critical journalism; after all, media play an important role in society. But there must also be room to breathe a sigh of relief, reports that don't just make you despair. In 2003, under the title Where is the love?, the Black Eyed Peas already sang about everything that goes wrong and asked about the one thing that connects us all: love. Where are all the beautiful stories, the stories of togetherness, the ones that make us smile when we read them? Well, right here, you just have to take a look and listen.

"But a small moment of smiling, a touch of 'life is actually beautiful', a video of old people in love leave so much more than any drama coverage."

During an interview a few years ago, the lady with whom I was sitting with at the kitchen table at home listening to her advice on cold home remedies said something that stuck with me for months afterwards: "My husband was the love of my life and when I think of him today, it still warms my heart." Wow, wet eyes moment. Julie Bieda's declaration of love for her late husband was something I had to swallow hard to get past, otherwise I would have had to stop my interview on the spot.

For my new start at the Lëtzebuerger Journal, I decided to tell stories. Stories about ordinary people, their everyday lives and what moves them. Julie Bieda had moved me and so, during one of our editorial meetings, I told her about my idea to shoot a video reportage about love stories for Valentine's Day. In the following weeks, I visited Julie Bieda for the second time, talked to Maria Grober about falling in love in her youth and accompanied Anny and Jean Leon Erpelding as they recalled the memories of their love, which has now lasted for over 50 years.

Why older people in particular? Because they give me the feeling that true love exists and because they, at least some of them, look at the depths of life with a little distance and appreciate what positive things they were nevertheless allowed to experience. The response in the social media obviously proved my hypothesis: 25.1 thousand views, 749 likes, shared 165 times and hundreds of comments about how beautiful such love is after all. Do people really only want negative news? Probably a little, sensationalism can be found in all of us. But a small moment of smiling, a touch of "life is actually beautiful", a video of old people in love leave so much more than any drama coverage. They leave behind a feeling that remains and is not simply overrun by the next and the next and again the next news flash, I am sure of that.