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What about the good news?
A few weeks ago I wrote about having a plan B for maintaining contact with our naturist connections should the various social media sites that naturists use turn their backs on our philosophy.
One response to my blog, from Peter Stokes suggested that much of the reporting regarding nudity and naturism focuses on the negative or the sensational rather than the ordinary. Peter asserted that naturists’ fears for the future of the movement may be somewhat overdone. To support his comments, he provided links and information on several positive reports with no negative or salacious writing.
It would be fair to say that one of the reasons we may feel that naturism is under threat is that the overwhelming focus of reports in the media are of a confrontational or negative nature, and often presented not from the point of view of the naturist. It is often the comment from the local authorities or the offended citizen that drives the reporting.
Good news and naturist positive stories are few and far between, even though there are examples around the world.
You aren’t going to sell newspapers or, in modern vernacular, harvest clicks with stories about a group of Nottingham naturists with free run of a country park or a bloke who cycles naked around his seaside town where locals consider him part of the scenery.
Without outrage or offence, these stories are unlikely to make headlines or be featured prominently in any mainstream news outlet. It is the indignant outrage and the pearl-clutching that sells copy, and these are the stories that the media will pay attention to.
Reporters are adept at getting news placement based on something called the news value list. There are several considerations that they look at before running with a story. Things like impact, proximity, conflict, human interest and how unusual something is, will all be used to sum up its newsworthiness.
The fact that a group of people enjoyed a weekend of warm weather at a campsite in a small Coromandel beachside location is unlikely to trigger the required threshold for news value. That the group were naked might qualify as being unusual, but given that the beach is known to be frequented by naturists, the event becomes somewhat unremarkable. The headline “Naked people spend the weekend camping at a nudist beach” isn’t going to generate sales revenue or website clicks.
So whose role is it to bring these positive stories to light? Is it the role of the local naturist groups, or the national naturist organisation? Should it be the focus of the International Naturist Federation to compile, collate and promote these good news stories? Should it be the responsibility of all of us to highlight, by whatever means available to us, any naturist positive incidents?
Perhaps some people from mainstream media might pick up the stories if they are more frequently mentioned. There is no guarantee that they will of course, but if we don’t promote the positive stuff then there is a guarantee that they won’t report it.
Even if the media don’t pick up the positive articles, by simply posting good news stories via our social media networks we bring them to the attention of the wider naturist community, and that alone will help lessen the feelings of the philosophy being under siege.
Not only is there a need to promote and celebrate the positive stories supporting naturism, but equally important is the need to respond or hold to account the negative or misleading stories that permeate the media.
Again, whose responsibility is it to call out negative or biased reporting? I suggest that it is incumbent on all of us, where we safely can, to step up and bring the negative reporting to the attention of both our naturist connections and if possible the wider community.
I have criticised the media for their biased reporting and coverage of naturist events in several previous blogs but to make a real change it will take a more coordinated approach from a group with a wider reach than the free blog of one man from the South Pacific.
Whether the attitudes to naturism are getting more critical and restrictive, or whether this is just our perception due to the nature of the way naturism is reported in the media, we all owe it to naturists around the world to call out poor reporting and to promote the good news when we can
It can be said that I tend towards a glass-half-empty attitude to things rather than a glass-half-full. The engineer in me suggests that the glass is twice as big as it needs to be, but by erring on the pessimistic side, I find I am less disappointed by events than friends of mine with a more positive approach.
This may cloud my appreciation of the good news stories and might affect my perception that the world is becoming less tolerant of naturists and social nudity. I don’t believe that I am alone in feeling that way although it could be said that negative reporting is not limited to articles about naturism.
Remember, just because you are paranoid, doesn’t mean that they aren’t out to get you.
Variously attributed to Joseph Heller (Catch 22), Woody Allen and Kurt Cobain.
Thank you for reading, have a comfortable day.