In journalism, there is a sad, but inevitable adage that bad news is good news. Though many of us profess a penchant for positive, uplifting current events, audience statistics paint a very different picture.
Every time there is a major terrorist attack, or a natural disaster, or a kidnapping of a white, middle class schoolgirl, our appetite for news shoots through the roof. The news-consuming British public – concerned and enthralled, perhaps even entertained – hunkers down, grabs the popcorn, and nestles up to their television sets as the drama unfolds.
By contrast, tales of an altogether more heart-warming nature rarely get their foot in the door. As soon as violence tapers off and peace breaks out, the magnetism of a story evaporates. And so it is with Zimbabwe.
The last time President Robert Mugabe's impoverished nation was regularly making headlines, roughly a year ago, hyperinflation was running at 500 billion per cent and a cholera epidemic was poised to turn the "breadbasket of Africa" into the continent's top humanitarian disaster.
So let's catch up on the situation. Among the developments you won't have seen flashed across the evening news lo these past 12 months was the abandonment of the Zimbabwean dollar (the last bill to be pressed was a 100 billion dollar note) and the intimation towards political stability.
Following the swearing in of Morgan Tsvangirai, head of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, as prime minister in February, the country has been creeping cumbersomely towards normalcy.
Unemployment still remains crippling high, but with inflation down to just one per cent month-on-month Zimbabweans can finally plan their expenditure, liberated from the fear that their cash will have irrevocably depreciated by the time they get it from the bank to the shops.
The abandonment of Harare's official currency has driven consumers away from the black market, in turn bolstering the viability of legally operated (and fiscally lucrative) private sector trade. "Dollarisation has thrown me out of business," complained one illegal street vendor recently. "No one buys from me. People now buy from shops and authorised dealers."
And this tentative economic progress appears to have stretched further afield. As I exclusively reported on my work blog this week, government officials now claim that British Airways will resume flights to Zimbabwe.
Admittedly, the addition of a new airline route rarely makes national headlines. But when the country in question is one of the world's most notorious pariahs, and the airline concerned is an emblem for everything that its leadership despises, one can't help but feel the winds of change.
BA was giving nothing away when I contacted their press office, telling me only that they review their route network "on an ongoing basis to ensure that we only fly to profitable destinations". What they didn't mention, though, and indeed what no-one in the media seems to be mentioning, is that tourism to Zimbabwe has increased threefold over the past year.
The economy is stabilising, international relations are warming – bolstered further by a recent trade pact with South Africa and talk of the country re-entering the Commonwealth in 2011 – and once-implausible cooperation between Mr Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai is taking root.
Zimbabwe's new face has been perhaps best described by one of the country's harshest critics, Britain's very own Gordon Brown.
"The inclusive government has improved living standards for hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans," he wrote this week in The Zimbabwe Independent – a conspicuously high-profile contribution which, yet again, the western media has almost unanimously failed to report on.
"The economic destruction wrought by hyperinflation has been brought to an end; tax revenues have grown; and the credibility of the Finance ministry has been restored," Prime Minister Brown continued. "Humanitarian needs are being better managed; schools have reopened; and the vibrant and dynamic Zimbabwean private sector is stirring once again.
"As a result it is today easier than for many years to dream of a Zimbabwe that is once again a powerhouse of its region."
Of course none of this takes away anything from the harsh realities still facing this country. Troubling reports from rural provinces continue to speak of roaming gangs of Zanu PF activists intimidating white farmers – on several occasions being filmed in the act – and jobs remain a far-flung dream for the vast majority of Zimbabwe's able-bodied workforce.
But with the prospect of restored international air links, with generous pledges of international aid, and with an economy that is no longer the embarrassment of southern Africa, Zimbabwe's outlook looks rosy.
The only sad caveat is that you won't hear any of this in the western media. As has been the case with Afghanistan and Sudan, news outlets have shown little appetite for filing reports from former colonies when they fall short of Occidental expectations of third-world inferiority.