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Stories that sounds promising – The Hindu


Journalists value putting people at the heart of events or incidents they report

Journalists value putting people at the heart of events or incidents they report

To the world, every reporter’s job is primarily to sniff out the horrors hidden from view. There’s no denying that scare stories grab attention. Depending on the demands on a newspaper’s column space, human-interest articles are sometimes given in print.

Along with a passion for writing, every journalist has an innate interest in people and probably knows when and how to highlight them. But it’s also a challenge to convince a boss why, for example, A light that feeds the lonely and poor in Madurai every day Or the important stories of the many unsung heroes in corners of the country who try to improve the world without any encouragement.

This is not to undermine any news or event, as each has its own significance. The old newsroom saying — if it bleeds, it leads — is probably still true, but the truth is that people also want human-interest stories. Off and on, strong human-interest stories tug at heartstrings and set the news agenda. My experience believes that good always has power.

The famous ‘no story’

I remember that year vividly because 9/11 happened, and even two months later our newsroom chats centered around one of the worst terrorist attacks ever seen and the trail of grief it left behind. It was a winter evening and a dapper looking man walked into Delhi’s office The Hindu He requested coverage for a free coaching center he was setting up in Patna for poor children. He said that children used to dream of joining IIT and Josh must be one of them. He was saddened that many city newspapers had shunned him. They asked him to prove himself first. I couldn’t be sure what it was: perhaps it was his weakness or the seriousness in his voice and eyes that made me offer him a seat and listen to his story.

The story is about a man who excels in mathematics and gets a seat at Cambridge University. But his father did not have enough money to send him, so he had to give it up. The young man had a desire to keep his love for the subject alive and a determination not to let money come in the way of a child interested in getting into higher education.

Who knows what lies ahead for Anand Kumar? My three paragraphs on him may not have done wonders, but some donations got him and Anand Kumar took off with help from other places too. ‘Super 30’ is a dream for him and the children he hugs are from the hinterlands of Bihar. The rest is history.

In 2019, when hindi movie, Super 30, based on his life, was released, I wrote again about the now famous man. He tweeted that he remembered our first meeting when he had no money. Perhaps it was my association with him that made ‘No Story’ the subject of 2001, powerful and enjoyable 18 years later.

When journalists focus on people doing amazing things out of the spotlight, the impact doesn’t pass them by. The story makes a difference. All too often, we read about terminally ill patients capturing the public’s imagination with their bucket lists. This is because a human-interest story has the power to move readers.

Multiple studies – at the Universities of Pennsylvania, Southampton and Texas – have shown that stories that reinforce faith in human nature are discussed and shared more, resulting in positive engagement and greater outreach. News stories with a hopeful ending leave readers informed and motivated to take positive action, while ordinary news stories leave people depressed, hopeless, anxious, and pessimistic.

We are still hearing old doctrine, not good news news. But good news is about a better tomorrow and travels faster in today’s world.

soma.basu@thehindu.co.in



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