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Noni Hazelhurst wants the media to “refine reality and heal our hearts”. Can we rise to the challenge?

MEDIAWATCH  |  John Sandeman

Monday 9 May 2015

Noni Hazelhurst, Playschool star and Australian actress, entered the Logie Award Hall of Fame this week with a speech that is going viral. Her theme: the media is bad news.

“We are living under a constant cloud of negativity. We are divided against each other and our fellow human beings. We find it hard to trust. And we are fearful for the future. And I think it is because we are surrounded by bad news and examples of our basest human behaviour. I fear that our hearts are growing cold.”

There’s one key exception:

“Playschool works because it reflects life as we actually live it and the people on it are real.”

Hazelhurst wants a good news channel.

Hazelhurst wants a good news channel.

“So here’s my pitch. I’d like a channel that features nothing but stories that inspire us. And reassure us and our children that there are good things happening and good people in the world.

“I know it is a lot to ask for. But at the very least, a show that tries to redress this overwhelming imbalance. That counters bad news with good. That encourages optimism not pessimism, and that restores our empathy and love for our fellow human beings, and the earth. That redefines reality. That heals our hearts. And by the way, I am available.”

A good news channel? This must stir a Christian response. Are we the kings of good news? Could we make it work?

The media landscape is littered with attempts to ruin “good news” outlets; newspapers from PM in New York in the 1940s to The New Day which closed last week in London. None lasted, or really got going.

There’s a proliferation of “good news” websites. Blessings.com offers cute, inspirational, heart-warming video with clickbait headlines.

Right now, Christian media in this country is concentrated on looking inwards to our own communities, debating hot topics, serving the “rusted on Christian”. But what “good news” stories can we tell?

“They’re married, but they live on the cab of THIS TRUCK, I thought it was odd, THEN I saw inside…”, “I thought she was making regular cupcakes, but when she showed us the result I was stunned.” They are often the weepy items that US newscasters like to put at the end of the nightly news. Like a Mom serving in Afghanistan turning up for their daughter’s special event at school. That kind of stuff.

The mighty.com specialises in uplifting stories of people living with disability. As someone who spends a lot of time at Special Olympics events, I am conflicted about this one. Sample headlines “A Tribute to Special Needs Moms on Mothers day” or “When My Teacher Used the R-Word Synonymously With the Special Needs Community”.

These sites are the closest thing to what Noni Hazelhurst is looking for.

Jesus gets a look in, occasionally. There are some stories of Christians making a real difference. Good works do glorify our father in heaven, still.

Eternity wants to tell good news, too. Right now, Christian media in this country is concentrated on looking inwards to our own communities, debating hot topics, serving the “rusted on Christian”.

But what “good news” stories can we tell? How do we make them work in the emerging media? How do we reach outwards?

Obviously the really Good news needs to be told. Along with stories of Christians living in the light.

But news is always old, in the sense that stories are built around old paradigms: conflict and celebrity being the most popular.

So there is a great challenge in working out the new forms of stories that will work with the sort of stories that should be told. Consider Eternity a giant working experiment. We are working on spreading the best news.

Got a good news tip? Maybe someone you know who has inspired you or your faith that you think we should cover at Eternity? Share it with us in the comments below. 

11 Responses to Noni Hazelhurst wants the media to “refine reality and heal our hearts”. Can we rise to the challenge?

  1. Lawrie says:

    40stories.com.au have some wonderful stories of transformed lives and communities involving our aboriginal brothers and sisters. 

  2. Peter Fopp says:

    Noni Hazelhurst and John Sandeman are right. When I was growing up during WWII, a common adage was, “No news is good news”. Now, news media seem to think GOOD NEWS IS NO NEWS!

  3. Peter Fopp says:

    Noni Hazelhurst and John Sandeman are right. When I was growing up during WWII, a common adage was “No news is good news”; it seems now that too often news media consider GOOD NEWS IS NO NEWS.

  4. dawn mielens says:

    I agree.   there are many everyday events happening that can encourage and inspire to see the positive things around us.
    I am retired.  worked in the country for many years as a Social Worker.  I saw some horrific things. but the positives of changed lives, of support for others, of getting in and helping out far out-wayed any negative happening, (some really traumatic) .

    Though disabled now,, I am still available to help in any way.  I have even written articles if that is of any use.  I offer my services.to assist in getting some positive news into the community,  Not the boring and ‘sweetened’ version that is often presented.especially in Christian publications.  AT least Eternity does present some interesting articles at times. .

  5. glenn goodwin says:

    i pray that Noni can bring her dream to fruition 

  6. Reality accepting Jesus as Lord of your life! Accept salvation and have a daily relationship with Him! Trust and obey and read His word and apply it to our lives each minute of the day!

  7. Kevin Schrapel says:

    This alone is some of the “Best news” since whenever!! A celebrity stepping forward highlighting a need in our media circles and prepared to act and become part of a solution.
    I am tired of saccharine feel good stories, that have very little if any real guts to them. It is way past time when the focus changed to “real people with authentic good news stories” The world is full of them – we just need somewhere in the public domain for them to be told, and people stirred up to tell them or find them. Count me in!
    I am now retired but spent many working in the bush for the Lutheran Church (please don’t hold that against me) around “The Centre”, Coober Pedy and far west coast SA working with both Aboriginal and non aboriginal peoples – some good – some not so good -but lots of inspiring stories of people over coming problems with out getting into racism etc. If I can be of any help you have my email. God bless!

  8. Mary Rayner says:

    I definitely support the idea of an inspirational good news channel.
    Primary school age children are increasingly being diagnosed with anxiety and depression. . . . . . . .the world they are exposed to is threatened by climate, by wars, by family instability . . . . . .they need to know that there are many people whose lives are stable, kind and generous.

    They need to hear about the success stories.

  9. Ray Curle says:

    Australia already has a Good News Channel (on demand) : http://www.channelc.net/

  10. Cheryl Worsley says:

    Good idea. Now, how to? The Centre for Public Christianity has made a start putting Christ ‘out there’. I wonder if, in election mode, we shouldn’t be asking why the ABC doesn’t offer a good news channel for the public good. That would create an option and an opportunity.

  11. Catherine says:

    I support Noni in her endeavour.