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We could all use a dose of good news

Boy, there’s a lot of bad news out there.

At least it seems that way: The rancor in Washington, the early snippiness over Campaign 2020, the firestorm about reproductive rights, the recent rise in gasoline prices. All seem to occupy a lot of newsprint and airtime these days.

The media’s rule of thumb used to be, “If it bleeds, it leads.” But now, with virtually everything bleeding, it may be time for another catchphrase.

Maybe: “If it churns bile, let it rest awhile.”

In other words, in the name of balance, it’s appropriate for media to rally around the good news in our homes, businesses, neighborhoods, cities and even nation.

The Philadelphia Inquirer has adopted this outlook in a Sunday section called “The UpSide.” It is four pages of positive stories that celebrate unity, collaboration and selflessness. Likewise, CBS Philly airs “Brotherly Love” segments, spotlighting heartwarming stories.

Here in the valley, public relations professionals are stepping up to provide upbeat content.

Samuel Kennedy, director of corporate communications for St. Luke’s University Health Network, says that keeping an eye out for uplifting stories has been “woven into our corporate culture. The people we work with know that they’ve got to be part of the ongoing process of distinguishing St. Luke’s, especially in this competitive market.”

According to Kennedy, St. Luke’s pitches these stories routinely and also posts them on its own blog, strengthening the messages through social media.

We here at Lehigh Mining & Navigation worked to highlight the positivity of another area health care provider – Lehigh Valley Health Network. Last year, we earned a PR industry award for telling the story of LVHN’s treatment of a young father whose prolonged illness rendered him unconscious during the delivery of his second child.

I encourage colleagues in public relations and corporate communications to search for uplifting content and promote it. I look forward to sharing these stories – and their goodwill – in future columns. It may help swing the pendulum of current sentiment against the doom and gloom that seem to be everywhere.

Dan Weckerly is director of public relations at Lehigh Mining & Navigation, an advertising agency in Allentown. He can be reached at weckerly@lmandn.com.

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