As the old saying goes: bad news sells. The expression has its roots in 50s film noir classic Ace in the Hole, which was inspired by the real-life media circus when explorer Floyd Collins was trapped in a cave for over a week, and tells the story of archetypcal newspaperman Chuck Taylor, played by Kirk Douglas. One of Taylor’s most memorable lines in the film is ‘Bad news sells best. Cause good news is no news’.
It’s a mantra that much of the media has stuck to ever since, particularly the tabloid newspapers that have essentially built their entire business model around it. And can we really blame them? In these turbulent times, where the latest Brexit woes continually dominate the political agenda and every week seems to bring a new report about the dire state of the planet, it’s not exactly easy to put a cheery spin on things. As the publisher of current affairs magazine Positive News (the clue is in the name), Seán Dagan Wood is inclined to disagree.
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