Some New Year resolutions for the Guardian | Letters

Letters: There’s growing evidence that audiences prefer and feel empowered by a more constructive, solutions-focused approach to news coverage

It’s inspiring to read in the New Year’s honours list (31 December) about the individuals who have made such a valuable contribution to their local communities, such as by supporting women subjected to domestic abuse and girls caught up in gang culture, or by providing a free, healthy breakfast to thousands of schoolchildren. Collectively these community stalwarts and other charity figures account for over three-quarters of the New Year’s honours list. Yet the constructive work undertaken by millions of volunteers and tens of thousands of charities goes largely unreported or ignored for most of the year. As the US author of How to Change the World, David Bornstein, writes, our news media should not just focus on “people doing terrible things that are hidden from view”, but on “people doing remarkable things that are hidden from view”.

There’s growing evidence that audiences prefer and feel empowered by a more constructive, solutions-focused approach to news coverage, which not only analyses problems but explores potential solutions. This isn’t about fluffy, feel-good stories, but about incorporating practical solutions with positive impact into mainstream reporting. Studies show that audiences share these types of stories much more on social media and will seek out news organisations espousing this approach. Amid the relentless news cyclone of doom and gloom, which can leave audiences anxious and disengaged, maybe 2016 will be the year when constructive voices will be heard more loudly.
Giselle Green
Media coordinator, National Council for Voluntary Organisations

• I agree with you that the honours list has been discredited. My view is it should be scrapped and not replaced. Maybe one way to hasten its end is to stop using people’s titles in articles – a straightforward Ms or Mr is adequate to describe people.
Ian Sparling
Rochester, Kent

• One of the two major political parties suffers from a historically tiny, stagnating and elderly membership, and faces a year in which an issue on which it is deeply divided will be prominent. The other party has seen a great resurgence of membership, including many enthusiastic young people, elected a new leader with a landslide vote, and is rethinking its structure to make it genuinely democratic. Which one did the Guardian (Report, 1 January) – in a news piece not an opinion piece – describe as in “crisis”? No prizes for guessing it wasn’t the Tories.

A majority of the British population, according to polls, do not want to see the country bombing Syria, the renewal of Trident or any more privatisation. Unless I am mistaken, these are Jeremy Corbyn’s positions. So why is space given to a long-retired politician (Peter Mandelson, 1 January) who describes these majority positions as hard left, and the Blairites as the legitimate left, with the clear implication that the majority view is somehow illegitimate?

Like most on the left, I have read the Guardian for decades. I don’t want to desert it now, because there is no decent alternative for those of us who oppose Trident, privatisation and the rest of the neoliberal agenda. But in almost every issue now, I see the Guardian trying to promote a false and dangerous narrative of the Labour party in crisis. If it’s to keep readers like me, could we beg for a new year rethink?
Susan Curran

• Hear, Hear, Janet Tyrrell (Letters, 30 December). Now you’ve got a female editor, let’s make 2016 the year when women’s sport gets equal coverage in the Guardian. There’s a reason why your sports pages are hardly read by 50% of your readers. Men’s football ad nauseam. Overpaid divas/divers.
Jennifer Clifton
Otley, West Yorkshire

• Has Janet Tyrrell considered that the Guardian’s sports section merely reflects the interests of the vast majority of sports fans – both spectators and readers about sport? There’s not much point in printing stuff few people will read.
John Richards

• You headed Janet Tyrrell’s letter “Women’s sport on an unlevel playing field”. Your use of this inaccurate cliche is an own goal. You should recognise that football is a team game of two halves and that it’s unfair only if someone moves the goalposts when a player from one side is shooting. In cricket, it is certainly unfair if the pitch rolling (a newer cliché meaning preparing the ground) is done in such a way as to favour the bowlers of one side. Perhaps, going forward, these expressions could be avoided, or would that be pushing the envelope too far?
Michael Rines
Woodbridge, Suffolk

• Every time I read a letter like the one from Nicholas Hampson (BBC funding for Tory social policy, 29 December) I think several things. First off is “What a brilliant idea!”, closely followed by “Thank heavens for the Guardian letters page – so full of pithy, witty, cogent and incisive letters”; life would be a lot duller without it.

Then comes the thought that the idea (that Sky should provide its TV service free to over-75s) could be incorporated into a list of “you know it makes sense” ideas. Then, who knows, it could be the start of a Guardian Readers’ Manifesto and a new political party. Well, one can dream.
Peter Hanson

• Struggling, with my 92-year-old eyes, to read my daily Guardian I found the picture caption on page 11 of G2 (30 December) the last straw. “Clockwise from far left” is bad enough, but eight identities set in small type and crammed into the top left-hand corner of a pink square, leaving the remaining area totally blank, is just ludicrous. What young graphic designer, obviously blessed with 20/20 sight, had that bright idea?
Arthur Astrop
Kenilworth, Warwickshire

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