By Cheryl Mahoney
Sometimes I wonder why I look at the news. I want to “be informed.” I want to “know what’s going on.” But as a rule, “what’s going on” tends to be incredibly depressing. That’s when I start wondering.
Sunday afternoon I was looking at The San Francisco Chronicle and reading headlines out-loud to my roommates. “Problem persists” for the homeless. “Mexico’s economy slammed by epidemic.” Swine flu, war in Iraq, foreclosed houses, floods in Brazil, violence in Gaza. And I was in the middle of asking, “Why am I reading all this?” when buried on page A7 I stumbled across a one-paragraph item.
“The University of Alaska Anchorage has been given $7 million by a mystery donor who has now contributed more than $81 million to 15 colleges run by women.”
Now THAT is a good news story. Why don’t we put that on page one? Donating money to colleges is inspiring. Doing it anonymously–now that’s really inspiring. Too often donations become a PR stunt, and though there may be real dedication to the cause involved, there’s also a lot of publicity involved when they put up a plaque for you. But to give that kind of money anonymously…there’s someone who clearly must have the true spirit of giving. My thanks, because not only did he/she help a lot of colleges, my Sunday afternoon was brightened too.
On the subject of good news, I found another wonderful article in The Washington Post on Monday, “In Recession Some See Burst of ‘Neighboring.'” The article is all about neighborhoods who have come together during hard times. Where there used to be individuals, now there’s a real community. Things have changed with the poor economy, but in these neighborhoods, for the relationships between these neighbors, things have changed for the better.
It’s like an antidote to the story about foreclosed homes. I do want to be informed, but I’d like to know when it was decided that only bad news was news. Positive things happen in the world too, and I love it when I find a good news story.
Good news is inspiring. Of course, I don’t have $7 million to give anyone. But anyone can say hello to a neighbor.