And now for the good news: The journalists trying to focus on the brighter side of life - Press Gazette

And now for the good news: The journalists trying to focus on the brighter side of life

The diet of news content often gives audiences reason to feel gloomy.

It may be true that bad news sells but should there be a greater balance between positive and negative content?

In a village south of Preston, in Lancashire, 22-year-old Emily Coxhead thinks so.

At the beginning of September Coxhead initiated a Kickstarter campaign to produce The Happy Newspaper, a publication that would “celebrate all that is good in the world.”

And now, with the support of £1,379 from 73 backers and an army of volunteers, Coxhead is preparing to launch the first edition of The Happy Newspaper this December.

“It was a shock to me how disconnected people are in London, people smile at each other up north but in London they don’t, they have their heads down,” says Coxhead, who was inspired to create the newspaper during an eight-week spell working in the capital.

“I wanted to publish something that would make people smile.

“It’s not difficult to find positive news it’s just that we’re not exposed to it; everyone has a fascinating story that nobody knows of.”

With colour and positivity running throughout, the paper will feature local and national positive news stories, celebrity good deeds and pieces on food and travel.

One of the paper’s main pieces will be an every day heroes section, highlighting projects such as Free Cakes for Kids, who bake birthday cakes for families struggling to do so for their own children, and the Real Junk Food Project, who use food destined for waste to create pay-what-you-want meals in cafes around the country.

Building on a BA in Graphic Design and her experience as a freelance creative, each page will be accompanied by Coxhead’s own illustrations, not photographs.

Coxhead is not a journalist and has sought help from a business developer and relied upon volunteers, including two journalists, to help put the newspaper together. 

The new project follows the example set by Seán Dagan Wood, who the editor-in-chief of Positive News, a news organisation that successfully ran a campaign in July this year to become the world’s first global media cooperative, raising £263,422 in the process.

He believes publications like Positive News and The Happy Newspaper are part of a wider trend putting a greater emphasis on publishing positive stories.

Wood says: “Within the last couple of years we have seen a massive shift in the audience’s and the now the industry’s interest.

“There’s an appetite for knowing where the progress is being made and where the possibilities are, I think people are fed up of the doom and gloom in the world.

“I wouldn’t want to see feel-good stories taking the place of socially relevant and useful journalism but what I want to see is more constructive, quality news outlets covering what’s going right in the world.”

In March this year radio producer Simon Hollis made a BBC radio programme titled ‘Good News Is No News.’

In the programme it is observed that there is an increasing amount of bad news reported from all over the world but that, puzzlingly, humans have never been healthier, wealthier or more peaceful.

“I think it’s about the change in media itself, a move away from journalism dominated by Fleet Street,” said Hollis.

“What is news? Why is news like it is? Why is there resistance to change? Do we get the news we deserve? Are we conditioned to expect certain news?

“All these arguments raise deeper questions and the deeper you go the more interesting it gets.

 “Journalists enjoy applying scrutiny to all other practices and industries but they’re not good at this kind of self-reflection.

“They have a feeling that because news has been done this way that’s how it will be done in the future, determined by historical practice.”