What makes a good news story? Is it an exceptionally well written article that captures detail, whilst ensuring that the key facts are easily accessible for the reader? Perhaps it is a story with a happy ending, although I often find myself having to dig deep when reading the papers. A good news story could be one that stays in the media for weeks because there is just so much scope for it to maintain headlines. As I start to read more widely to keep in tune with current events and also to improve my own writing, I find myself asking the question ‘What makes a good news story?’
I want to comment and critique a news story, but which one would capture my attention the most, as well as captivating the interest of my readers? Should I look for news articles that have not made the top stories of the national papers, but hold some significance to a local community? It could still be considered a good news story. Nonetheless, it seems that what constitutes a good news story is often a story that grips the headlines, sells newspapers, wets the appetite of its readers and more often than not, it is pretty grim.
The news is often full of the bad and the ugly, whilst the good is left filling up the white space. Just by skimming through a selection of online papers I have gained a snap shot of what is being discussed by the media today:
- Oscar Pistorius trial
- 9/11 attacks
- Scottish referendum
- Fight against Isis
- Rise of prison suicides
- Father charged with killing his 5 children
- James Bond villain dies
- 100 killer spiders force man from home
- Wrestling legend found dead at home
- Nurse who hung herself due to radio station hoax
- Missing school girl Alice Gross
- Arrests linked to New Forest murder
Of course there are happier stories scattered throughout the news, but I would argue that they are less frequent and harder to find. Of course, it also depends on what you classify as a good news story, a happier news story, a horrible news story… we could classify them into several categories! Each person has a different idea of what good and bad news looks like and we all handle good and bad news differently.
What if I told you however that there is good news that should be viewed as incredible and life-changing by every single person? What if I told you there is good news that has been a top story for generations and has reached people and places across the world? What if I told you that this good news has a happy ending for those that follow this story from beginning to end? What if I told you that all of the most horrible news stories that you have ever come across combined together, would not be as bad as ignoring this universal truth – this good news? The good news that I am referring to is not a story. It is the gospel.
The gospel means “good news” and the good news that I am referring to is that of Jesus Christ – his death and resurrection. In 1 Corinthians 15: 1-4 (ESV) Paul writes:
“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures…”
A friend of mine once said that he liked the Easter story and respected it, but he did not understand why Jesus Christ had to die on a cross. I guess it must have sounded like a grim news story which seemed cruel and unnecessary. Yes, it was a cruel way to die, but it was completely necessary. If Jesus Christ had not died on the cross, it would have been bad news for all of humanity. Without Jesus we are cut off from God. The gospel is summarised succinctly on a web page of Mars Hill Church, which has experienced its own grim news recently, but thank goodness for the gospel of Christ and of grace – amen!
“…the man Jesus is also God, or Christ, and died on a cross in our place, paying the penalty for our sins; three days later He rose to conquer sin and death and give the gift of salvation to all who believe in Him alone for eternal life.” (Mars Hill – check out the rest at https://marshill.com/the-gospel )
Jesus died to conquer sin and death; he died to save us personally and restore the broken relationship between us and God that was caused by our sin and rebellion; he took our sin and rebellion upon Himself on the cross and became the sacrifice so that we might have eternal life with God in heaven and a relationship with Him every single day of our lives. But so many people reject this good news, and prefer to choose their own way; the ‘hot off the press’ grim news story which promises a good read before it is replaced with more grim news.
Let me tell you friends, the gospel, good news, life-saving truth of Jesus Christ will turn your life upside down and inside out. It does not guarantee that you will not experience some grim headlines in your life, but the eternal love and promises of God far outweigh the temporary journalism of this life. Christ has re-written the news headlines into eternity. Do you accept the good news of Jesus?