As I travel, the one constant that comes from my newspaper reviews is the lack of any consistency in headlines. What one paper finds critical for its readers in another paper will be well back in the section, if at all. If there was a common theme to any and every paper, it is this – disaster rules! Bad news carries the day. If it has a local slant, in general it will win over international news. Global disasters will win the day, however the slant, perspective, and blame can and will vary widely.
What would you put on the front page if you were the editor? Would it change with hindsight? Is experience the driver of the natural filtering mechanisms? How unbiased would you try to be? Is it even possible to tell a story without a view? Should one even try?
I find the questions open themselves into a fun game. Would I be like the Singapore Straits Times with a focus on good news, family, and optimism? Would I find myself taking a New York Times type perspective? Maybe my approach, cynical as it might be, would become like one of the London tabloids!
Ironically, I often find myself forgetting that I am writing the headlines of my life in every moment. My actions scream headlines. The nuances of my choices, decisions, and relationships fill in the gap. As much as I want to ignore, in each individual moment there are bold, big typeface, headlines telling others what I think is important. In any given moment, greed may win out over community. On occasion, far more often than I want to admit, justice takes precedence over mercy. I wonder how often I tell others that I am more important than they are.
God suggests the headlines of your life and mine. Divinity’s instructions are clear; “Heavens, raise the roof! Earth, wake the dead! Mountains, send up cheers! God has comforted his people. He has tenderly nursed his beaten-up, beaten-down people.” (Isaiah 49.13) These are bold headlines! Today we can make them a reality.
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