For media, negative news is easy. There’s always an earthquake, terrorist attack or travel accident, which make great headlines. Positive news doesn’t seem to draw such attention. Rather, it seems to create suspicion. People think it is some of kind PR or paid content. Those who’ve grown up behind the iron curtain seem to smell an odour of propaganda, which they were facing under communist rule. In these times, they heard about social achievements and economic successes every day. Most turned out to be fiction, or even fraud. No wonder, these people are sceptical.
I’m afraid, that we are – out of suspicion of advertising, PR and propaganda – throwing the baby out with the bathwater. A couple of months ago, I discussed a report about altruistic NGO activities with a colleague from a leading Czech economic daily. She told me, they have space for a topic like this only on their website, not in the printed version. She meant their readers are not interested in reports like this.
No doubt, the situation is even worse on commercial TV channels or in tabloid newspapers. The good news is usually tucked away somewhere at the end of daily news or at the bottom of the very last page. Other reports, say about cute pets are as rare as hen’s teeth. Despite the fact, that an overload of negative news is disturbing and even has a negative impact psychologically – see this webpage of an American network of public radio stations NPR.
For me as a journalist, it is always a great feeling, if I can – after all the reporting public battles, conflicts and disputes – report about positive people and initiatives. Which bring some new and positive energy. In the last few weeks, I had an opportunity to learn and write about two small but very nice Czech-German projects. Meeting with their participants and organizers made my day. And that’s why I want to share them with you.
The first encounter took place at a very special location. The castle and gallery Klenová near the Western Bohemian town Klatovy is always worth a visit. It offers great atmosphere, changing art exhibitions and stunning views over the surrounding landscape. This August it was the venue for the first Czech-German Comic Symposium. The locals accommodated for two weeks several cartoonists from both countries and let them draw original comics about “Superheroes from the Eastern Bloc”, people who helped in the 1950`s emigrants from Czechoslovakia to cross the border to Bavaria.
All the participants I spoke to were enthusiastic about the project. All of them found their own approach to the topic. They even added to their individual works a common one too. If you like art, you can admire their stories at Klenová until the end of October. Then they move to Centrum Bavaria-Bohemia in Schönsee, where they will stay until the end of the year. I recommend seeing it.
If you are more into sports, you can consider my second invitation. On 13 September, Prague will be hosting a final match of the German football league. Really? OK, not a real one, but a replay of a historical final 1903 game. The point is to remind you that one of the rival teams will be the then famous Prague team DFC. And to commemorate the great history of German-Jewish community in the Czech capital, which is famous worldwide for its literary achievements and contributions.
It’s obvious, that the sporting result is not the main concern of the organizers. The key point is to get out of the norm, have some fun and get to know each other, think and discuss our Czech-German relationship, past and present. Not in a strained manner, but with mutual respect, friendship and open minds.
I hoped I piqued your curiosity. If you are interested to learn more about either project, you can read my articles, which are yet to come on this and the next weekend at ceskapozice.lidovky.cz. Or simply ask or comment on this webpage!