What went right in the Philippines in 2018

This year, over 25,000 people went to the annual Metro Manila Pride March, making it the oldest Pride demonstration (it started in 1994) as well as the biggest march in the region. Photo by PAU VILLANUEVA

By Portia Ladrido/CNNPhilippines – Our media diet is frequently filled with bad news — a tragedy, a natural disaster, or a series of disconcerting quotes from people in power. The nature of how news stories are covered and shared often center around the traditional “where it bleeds, it leads” type of journalism. It’s not news if you cross the road safely; it’s news if a car cracks your head open as you cross the road.

There are people who tune out news altogether as the slew of traumatic stories can ultimately affect their mental health. A report suggests that in order to live with this reality without being consumed by it, people could limit the time they spend watching news on T.V. or social media. Terry Osborne, a professor at Dartmouth College, said in the same report: “The challenge is carrying the pain but not letting it bury you.”

There are also those who recommend having a more balanced media diet, which means reading good news as much as bad news. However, it is indeed difficult to expect a behavioral change in a culture so accustomed to how news is presented. The news will always and should always hold power to account; it should report all the bad and the ugly, but maybe it’s also time for the news to incorporate some good without compromising the basic tenets of news gathering.

Good news shouldn’t only be about victories in beauty pageants and boxing matches; good news, accompanied with the rigor of journalistic processes, can be stories of of innovation, of solutions to social issues that can ultimately provide readers agency and possibility. As journalist Mark Rice-Oxley said, “Not everything we cover will necessarily change the world for the better, but it will offer the promise of doing so.”

To end the year on a hopeful note, here are some good news stories in the Philippines that are worth toasting to, at least for the remainder of 2018.

Metro Manila Pride March becomes oldest and biggest march in Southeast Asia

This year, over 25,000 people went to the annual Metro Manila Pride March with the theme #RiseUpTogether. It seems that people did rise up together specifically in breaking the record of most number of attendees for any LGBTQ+ march in Southeast Asia. Now, the Metro Manila Pride March boasts itself as the oldest Pride demonstration (it started in 1994) as well as the biggest march in the region. In the MMPM’s website, Mikhail Quijano, co-head of the organization said: “Pride March and Festival is not only a safe space for LGBTQIA+ people to celebrate themselves. At its core, it’s a platform to protest and bring attention to the issues that matter to the community.”

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