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At Last, Some Good News

A friend just emailed me a Washington Post story about HappyNews.com, a Web site on which never is heard a discouraging word and the news is not cloudy all day.

It's no secret that the journalism profession kind of scoffs at the idea of good news. (Would you read the story accompanying the headline "All Planes Land Safely at Logan Airport" is how one old media chestnut goes.) Yet the public often tells pollsters that the media focus too extensively and relentlessly on the negative.

When it comes to Iraq, the issue of whether the media are spending too much time on the carnage and not enough on the positive things happening in the country is a real debating point between pro-war and anti-war forces. See Globe hawk Jeff Jacoby's recent piece on "Iraq's Good News Chronicle."


There was a time, particularly in the 90's, when good news was kind of trendy. The American News Service in Vermont regularly cranked out solutions-oriented stories focusing on how communities were coming together to solve problems. In 1995, the San Diego Union-Tribune started its regular "Solutions" feature that initially focused on folks making a difference in their communities.

In 1996, a boat builder named Jon Wilson started a magazine called "Hope" with the idea of providing "upliftment" and shedding light on "aspects of humanity not commonly illustrated." This story I found by googling, however, suggests that maybe "Hope" shuffled off this mortal coil. In 1998, a woman in British Columbia started a monthly paper called "Know News" with the motto, "Know News is Good News." The daily Tribune in Scottsdale Arizona even published a one-day "Good News Tribune" chock full of page-one stories about a reduction in drunk driving arrests and the success of a recycling program.

Yes, some of these things were awfully gimmicky, and I don't know how many survived and for how long. Perhaps the good news boomlet died after 9/11 and the subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. But there ought to be room for HappyNews.com somewhere in the online news universe. So cheer up.
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