At a lunch last week with one of our staffers, a major media company president asked whether B&C tries to weigh the good news in our magazine with the bad so everything in our coverage is not too dire these days. The answer is, we would love to run more good news, trust us.
For our last print issue of 2008, when we thought things were as bad as could be both in the media industry and the economy as a whole (little did we know…), we ran a “gimmick” in which we actually only reported good news in the book. Any information about layoffs, companies folding or anything else was only available on our Website. We slapped a big old happy face on the cover—literally—and called it “The Happy Issue.”
“From shows bombing to companies tanking to way too many people losing their jobs, there has seemingly been nothing but bad news of late,” wrote B&C Editor-in-Chief Ben Grossman in his column ("Don't Worry, Be Happy: It's B&C's 'Good News' Issue!"). “So for one week, we're simply not going to be a party to it. For our last issue in print of 2008, we're boycotting bad news. Seriously.”
We heard as much positive feedback over the next weeks about that concept as anything we had done in a while. And earlier this month, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams pleaded to the American public to send him some good news. He got bombarded with submissions.
It makes sense. We're as sick of reporting on the tough times as you (and we) are of reading about them. So each week we weigh the good with the bad; we have a responsibility to paint an honest portrayal of the business, but we try to do so along with the stories of opportunities and innovation that have come from these trying and transformative times.
Every newsgathering service has faced the challenge of how to cover this economic collapse, and must continue to ponder how to weigh any signs of a turnaround when they emerge. We would love nothing more than to see the malaise lifted off this business and the content-delivery industry as a whole get a spring back in its step. But we have a responsibility not to cheerlead, but to thought-lead. And so we must remain steadfast in our commitment to report what we see, for better or (more often lately) worse.
So to answer the studio head's question: Yes, we constantly think about the balance of positive versus negative stories. We look forward to the day when we can have another issue devoted only to good news, but this time because that is all there is to report.