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Editors: Good news a problem

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Johannesburg - Though most newspapers report on good news, it is often difficult to do or hard for readers to notice, a conference on the role of the media heard on Friday.

“We report good news all the time, but think back on the terrible medicine you were given as a child by your grandmother... and you can recall all the precise details,” said Mail & Guardian editor Nic Dawes.

“You don't recall all the orange juice that slips down gently. There is plenty of good news in our newspapers, but it doesn't annoy you... It doesn't get its hooks into you like bad news does.”

City Press editor Ferial Haffajee said most media organisations did not do enough good news.

“It is very hard to do for a journalist. I think our instinct is to be muckraking and to go to the underbelly, when in fact there are a lot of wonderful things happening,” she said.

“At City Press we insist that every page has something beautiful and delightful. I'm sure you miss it in between all the Nkandla and tenderpreneurship (stories).”

Also discussed was the question whether the media had helped promote former African National Congress Youth League leader Julius Malema.

Dawes said the media reported on Malema because he “spoke on record” about internal ANC discussions and revealed the party's dynamics.

He said media often had a difficult time reporting on the internal dynamics of the ANC because most members were “not willing to speak frankly and in detail”. - Sapa

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