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Here is the news: Breaking stories or breaking hearts, it's not always easy to gauge


Craving some positive news, Rebecca Levingston goes in search of her own snippets of happiness.

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Lachie got a rain gauge. It was a gift from his future father-in-law. A gauge that guzzled its first downpour this week. A symbol of replenishing love. Lachie loved it. So did I.

It made me happy to hear Lachie’s “news” because the real “news” is so damn sad.

A little girl gone, unmeasurable pain, yet another powerful person stained, a blue blood family strained. That’s the news I woke up to today. It broke my heart.

Breaking is the word we use to alert people when something significant is happening. Why do we say breaking? There’s a theory that a news broadcast breaks into regular programming to share new information. History suggests messengers would break open seals on scrolls to unveil urgent tidings. Go back to the 1400s and you’ll find reference to breaking a secret, a mind or a heart.

What’s the opposite of breaking? Mending, repairing, fixing, connecting, making.

I’m craving good news. Craving the simple stuff of life is a sure sign that I need to just go for a walk and notice the small, surprisingly spectacular things. Sometimes you have to seek out simple news. The bits and pieces of life that never make a headline.

Jess grew three cucumbers. I grew 10 chillies. My brother’s knee doesn’t hurt as much when he surfs. My uncle got a new job. Annie adores her grandkids. Patrick’s going to shave for a cure. Lucas stood up for the first time (doctors never expected him to). Actually, that’s big news. That deserves a headline.

What else in non-breaking news?

Beaches are blue. Nippers are pink. At the coast on the weekend I watched the next generation of lifesavers scurry across the sand and dive into turquoise water. My son got stung by a bluebottle and a tan lad in a red and yellow cap came to the rescue.

You want more colour?

Grass is green. In parts of Queensland lucky enough to have some decent rain, lawn is lush and worthy of walking on in bare feet. Try it. The smell of freshly cut grass permeates the suburbs. Wild giant mushrooms are popping up with freaky frilly gills. It’s magic.

What else, perhaps a sports report without rorts?

Soccer is starting. Coaches will volunteer to spend their Tuesday nights training and Saturday mornings playing. Parents will drink coffee and sit in camping chairs on the sideline, cheering. Kids will learn how to win and lose and sometimes they’ll get a snow cone after the game regardless of the result. Soccer socks will still stink.

We have to tell the saddest stories in “the news”. How will things ever change if we don’t? Hard news is crucial. I stand in awe of the journalists who delve into the darkest corners to shine light.

And let me confess, in the last week I’ve watched Framing Britney Spears and the Billie Eilish doco. Not satiated with celebrity content, I gorged on the three-course feast served up by Oprah, Harry and Meghan. Hold the popcorn. These are real people with real problems. Rich and royal, breaking and broken. Their irresistible imperfection seals the spot at the top of the bulletin.

A far more experienced newspaper columnist once told me that bad news is what humans crave. He said, “If fifty people turned up to a party and one had a car accident on the way, guess what everyone would be talking about?”

He’s right. But Lachie’s got a new rain gauge.

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