As many South Africans held their breath in the early hours of Friday, 30 July, this shone a light on a greater phenomenon: The role of the media in nation building

The sense of pride citizens feel when the spotlight is on their nation for all the right reasons is unmatched. This in itself proves the power and influence of the media in everyone’s daily lives. 

Here, media update’s Taylor Goodman unpacks three things that happen when the media gets patriotic. 

Let’s get into it:

1. Patriotic news brings South Africans together

Some good ol’ patriotic news has a way of bringing the nation together. A perfect example of this was the electric buzz in the air when South Africa won the Rugby World Cup in 2019. 

Now, that same feeling of elation is in the air, and a glimmer of hope as Schoenmaker arose feelings of national pride throughout SA two years later. 

This highlights the power of good news in bringing everyone back together as a nation, even during times of strife. 

Spotlighting patriotic news allows audiences to temporarily forget about the division between ‘us’ and ‘them’ and rather celebrate success together as a nation. 

Patriotism in the media reminds consumers that they’re all in this together. This helps them to see each other on more common ground, as South Africans, and makes everyone more understanding of one another.

2. Patriotic reporting overshadows negative news about SA

During the recent periods of national unrest, protest and violence, many South Africans felt helpless as they were overwhelmed with devastating news online and especially on social media.

Most platforms were flooded with negative stories about SA, and considering the ease of access to this news, as well as how it can easily be spread online, it was hard to escape. 

Facing this negativity day-in and day-out can take its toll, as it is difficult to find a way out when it appears that there is no light at the end of the tunnel. 

Given that no more than a week ago, South Africans nationwide were affected by grave unrest and chaos, this positive news came as a welcome distraction to everyone.   

Although this does not erase the issues in the country, it does provide people with some relief from the negativity online. 

Take Schoenmaker’s gold for instance; not only did she fly the SA  flag high, but she has inspired South Africans with the possibility of a better tomorrow.

3. Patriotic news puts South Africa in the spotlight

Oftentimes when you come across mentions of SA online, it's not necessarily positive. For this reason, members of the media and citizens alike should champion the nation’s successes in the media whenever they can — because it makes South Africa look good!

Yes, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows out there, and this is very evident when you go online. But this is the exact reason why journalists should report from a more glass-half-full angle. 

Everyone is dying to get the salacious scoop, but why not toss some positivity in there as well? 

As social media brings people closer to the world around them, people should feel inspired to share more of what makes their nation great. And in this case, use this to fuel a more united South Africa. 

What is your favourite patriotic news story that you’ve read recently? Let us know in the comments section below.

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If you want people to learn more about the importance of uplifting content in the media, check out these Three SA news sites that are looking at the bright side [Infographic].
*Image courtesy of SAfm news