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Good News, Everyone!
April 7, 2009 9:05 AM   Subscribe

Maybe the world isn't as good as this (more on that), but there's still ... good news, everyone!

Lately, the news is so depressing lately that even the NBC Nightly News anchors need cheering up. Brian Williams' nightly broadcasts became so depressing his viewers complained (start at 1:00 into the video), and so he reached out and asked his viewers to pass along good news. They gave him plenty (RSS), enough to start a series, "Making a Difference." This need for optimistic news, noticed even by PR agencies, has guided U.K. papers like the East London Yellow Advertiser and the Burton Mail to run "good news only" pages or editions.

But these papers are hardly the very first forays of the press or populace into the realm of good news. "If it bleeds, it leads" may be a fairly popular pressroom sentiment, but not in the following venues ...

Twitter has the Los Angeles Times' Good News Twitter channel (RSS, replies, replies RSS); Optimistic News (RSS, replies, replies RSS, Facebook); happytweets (RSS, replies, replies RSS); and the search keyword #goodnews (RSS).

Delicious.Com has busy tags for goodnews (RSS) and optimism (RSS).

LiveJournal communities have a few good "good news"-aggregating communities, such as Happy News (RSS), OnlyGoodNews (RSS), Helpers (RSS), and Only_Good_News.

Heck, if fed the right search terms, Google News (RSS) can sometimes even turn up glimmers of hope amongst such a barren landscape as mainstream media reporting. But the MSM just dabbles in good news; there are plenty of sites whose very purpose has been to provide a "good news" counterbalance to the "bad news" bias often seen in modern-day media.

There are the big five "good news" monoliths: Happy News (RSS), Good News Now (RSS2), Global Good News3 (RSS4), Good News Daily, and Now Public: Good News (RSS).

There's the Good News Network (RSS), Only Positive News (RSS), or Simply Happy News (RSS).

There are the websites of magazines such as Ode Magazine (RSS) (who bill themselves as being "for intelligent optimists") and YES! Magazine (RSS).

There's Things are Good (RSS), Optimism World (RSS), or Gimundo (RSS). There's Good News Blog (RSS), and the Good News Broadcast (RSS, video podcast, podcast RSS).

There's the Digg-like Great News Network (RSS), as well as Heroic Stories (RSS) and Positive News From Around the World.

There is, as earlier recommended on Ask Metafilter, the Speculist's Better All The Time (RSS5) — as well as GiftAnonymous, about random acts of (relatively non-saccharine) kindness, and the CSM's Making a Difference section.

And there's DarynKagan.Com (RSS) (warning: autoplay.).

[As well as all of this wrapped up into one big-ass RSS feed. :)]

* * * * * * * *

      1And its columnists, which don't appear to be in its RSS feed: David Pollay (RSS), WonderQuest (RSS), Craig Harris (RSS), Silent Kimbly (RSS), Susan Scholl (RSS), and Reasons to Be Hopeful (RSS).

      2A Yahoo! Pipes unification of a few subsections, which I'll provide here separately in case I ever forget and zap the pipe: green RSS, health RSS, heroes RSS, video RSS, more good news RSS.

      3Although most of the sites linked-to herein aren't particularly religious (on purpose – searching for "good news" results in a heavy pollination of Christian sites amongst the search engine results), this one seems to be run by adherents of TM; however, its selection of covered positive news stories doesn't seem to be particularly biased towards that, and it appeared to be a site that was kept fairly well up-to-date.

      4Yahoo! Pipe RSS feed created to filter only the news items starting with the phrase 'Positive:'. Original RSS feed.

      5Yahoo! Pipe RSS feed created to include only this feature. Original RSS feed.

* * * * * * * *

Postscript: Not directly on point, but still worth including, there's an interesting blog post about Internet Optimists vs. Pessimists and the Internet personalities each kind of person cites, as well as a really interesting TED talk by Marty Seligman, the author of Learned Optimism.
posted by WCityMike (33 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite

 
Act Two. The Friendly Man.

It's another not-so-great period in Scott's life. This time he takes a job inside his profession, as a producer for a national commercial radio program. His boss is a nationally recognized host who Scott refers to only as "The Friendly Man." Again, things don't go so well

posted by The Whelk at 9:13 AM on April 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Good news everyone: I've discovered a way to make you say this in your head in my voice.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 9:21 AM on April 7, 2009 [11 favorites]


Good grief.
posted by GuyZero at 9:26 AM on April 7, 2009


David Foster Wallace is gone. But his spirit lives on.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:33 AM on April 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


Eh, you take the rough with the smooth and try to make your own future as much as possible while also trying to discern what's going on right in front of you.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:36 AM on April 7, 2009


What's funny is that the "good news" includes things like "Polar Ice Melting Faster Than Ever".
posted by UsedToHaveGlasses at 9:45 AM on April 7, 2009


Which of the links provided that headline?
posted by WCityMike at 9:55 AM on April 7, 2009


David Foster Wallace is gone. But his spirit lives on.

Joe, is this your way of telling me to watch my back for French Canadian Wheelchair Assassins?
posted by mannequito at 10:02 AM on April 7, 2009


I hate people who ride pillion on their own front page posts to the point of distraction, but I already sense some friction in the comments based off the cynical worldview that we Mefites enjoy (myself included). I'll say this and then dismount and let the thread go as however it will.

I prepped this front-page post not because I embrace this and only this polarity, but because I think our current news culture embraces the other polarity, that of the worst that is happening, by virtue of capitalism: that's what brings in audiences' eyeballs and thus allows higher ad revenues to be sold. Note the link behind "if it bleeds it leads," for example.

It'd be just as unhealthy to embrace a "the world is only wonderful" Rainbow Brite viewpoint as it would be to embrace a "the world SUCKS" viewpoint, but I believe most of us lean towards the latter. By introducing positive news sources into our daily meals of headlines and newsgathering along with whatever existing sources we monitor, I think the average balance of positive and negative falls closer to what it is in reality.

In other words, the world can be crap, but it most definitely is not only crap; that fact seems to elude most news outlets.
posted by WCityMike at 10:10 AM on April 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


That Google News query is a work of poetry. Allow me the indulgence of repeating it without it being hidden behind a HTML anchor:

http://news.google.com/news?pz=1&ned=us&hl=en&q=%28%22good+news%22%7C%22great+news%22%7C%22cause+for+hope%22%29+OR+%28allintitle%3A+optimistic+-crowded-out+-guardedly+-cautious+-cautiously+-despite%29&cf=all

I'm sure it could be expanded upon, however, and I don't get what the "crowded-out" is doing in there.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:17 AM on April 7, 2009


The TED talk you linked to sounds interesting.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:17 AM on April 7, 2009


We're DOOMED!!1!!
posted by monospace at 10:23 AM on April 7, 2009


goodnewsfortheinsane: "I'm sure it could be expanded upon, however, and I don't get what the "crowded-out" is doing in there."

There was a story title that started out "Optimism Crowded Out By ... ".
posted by WCityMike at 10:24 AM on April 7, 2009


Really clever, nice post. But just for contrast could you give me the URL of a wrist-slittingly miserable Google News query. Or is that just http://news.google.com?
posted by rhymer at 10:26 AM on April 7, 2009


While I think optimism is integral to success, so is a healthy dose of realism. Here in Canada we're told by politicians and "thought leaders" that times are tough, but this is nothing like the Great Depression, or even the nasty recession of the early 80s. We're told that although politicians like to throw around the "D" word, technically speaking a Depression is marked by 25% unemployment, and that we're nowhere near that now.

However, if you take a look at a recent map of unemployment by county prepared by the NYT, certain counties in the US are reaching depression levels of unemployment, notably Imperial County (outside of San Diego), with 24.2% unemployment, or Coulousa County (north of SF) with 26.7% unemployment.

Nasty stuff.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:31 AM on April 7, 2009


Comets, Asteroids Sign New Earth-Avoidance Pact.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:35 AM on April 7, 2009


KokuRyu: "While I think optimism is integral to success, so is a healthy dose of realism"

The news with the bias which you're defining as "realism" is so ubiquitous as to convince most that it's all there is.
posted by WCityMike at 10:37 AM on April 7, 2009


Who invited that wet blanket?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:39 AM on April 7, 2009


But what if I don't want to read about kittens?
posted by scruss at 10:40 AM on April 7, 2009


I don't know about you, but I've been listening to a lot of great music lately, and a hell of a lot less news. After 8 Bush years, we got a black President and a few states with equal rights. I'm just gonna take a break for a while. Let me know when we're done with this whole "recession" thing, ok?
posted by rusty at 10:55 AM on April 7, 2009


Needs more links, footnotes and tiny text.

B-
posted by Zambrano at 10:55 AM on April 7, 2009


Needs more links, footnotes and tiny text.

Unlike this sarcastic guy, i appreciate the formatting effort.


but no @ signs! YOU FUCKING PUNKS GET OFF MY LAWN!!
*shakes angry fist*
posted by 5imian at 11:21 AM on April 7, 2009


I get the news I need from the weather report.
I can gather all the news I need from the weather report.

—Simon and Garfunkel, "The Only Living Boy in New York"

Sometimes when all the doom-and-gloom of modern news reporting is getting to be too much, the wisdom of those lines will come to me and I'll take comfort in the fact that, while it's a good idea in general to be informed of the goings-on in the world, the only thing from today's news that I really need to know about today is the local weather, and I'll deliberately avoid all other sorts of news for a day or two.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:21 AM on April 7, 2009


I get the news I need from the weather report.
I can gather all the news I need from the weather report.
—Simon and Garfunkel, "The Only Living Boy in New York"

... the only thing from today's news that I really need to know about today is the local weather...


While I absolutely adore that song, and those lyrics, we must admit this is a vast oversimplification. I mean, if there was a rampant serial murderer marching around your neighborhood, it may be useful to you to know that, and you probably won't find out from weather.com.
posted by kingbenny at 11:32 AM on April 7, 2009


Years ago, at the start of "Gulf War Part Deux" I realized that my daily diet of 2 newspapers and 3 daily news shows was making me borderline suicidal. I decided to go on what I called a "news fast" for 1 month - in which I allowed myself to read only the funnies and advice columns in the paper and avoided all news discussions with my friends. When I finally picked up a newspaper a month later, I couldn't believe the manipulative, sensationalistic tone of every news article that I read. I was appalled, too, at the lack of real information in the news. It was such a tremendous revelation to me that I've never been able to go back to consuming even a fraction of the news that I had previously.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 11:40 AM on April 7, 2009


I mean, if there was a rampant serial murderer marching around your neighborhood, it may be useful to you to know that, and you probably won't find out from weather.com.

But you would find out from the neighbors, who you spend a lot more time talking to when you're not glued to the CNN newsfeed.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 11:41 AM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


5imian: "Unlike this sarcastic guy, i appreciate the formatting effort."

The reason I did the footnotes was because the RSS feeds annotated by the footnotes are Yahoo! Pipes that, honestly, I'm not sure I'll keep around forever and ever. I probably will, but on the off-chance that I ever delete them, I wanted to future-proof the post by providing the original RSS feeds.

posted by WCityMike at 11:55 AM on April 7, 2009


But you would find out from the neighbors, who you spend a lot more time talking to when you're not glued to the CNN newsfeed.

They've all been gunned down by the bad dude.

I kid. Yours is a very good point. I'd love to live in a world where I gathered any immediate and truly important information from my neighbors and the weather forecast. Maybe just my neighbors, if they know the weather.
posted by kingbenny at 12:00 PM on April 7, 2009


I sure could use a little good news today

sorry if it's a dupe
posted by lysdexic at 12:29 PM on April 7, 2009


Maybe it's me or my political leanings, but I routinely see a lot of good news out there lately, even though sometimes you have to search for it.

Having a President say the following to the Turkish Parliament is a good start:

"All of us have to change. And sometimes change is hard. Another issue that confronts all democracies as they move to the future is how we deal with the past. The United States is still working through some of our own darker periods in its history. Facing the Washington Monument that I spoke of is a memorial of Abraham Lincoln, the man who freed those who were enslaved even after Washington led our revolution. Our country still struggles with the legacies of slavery and segregation... the past treatment of Native Americans. Human endeavor is by its nature imperfect. History is often tragic. But unresolved, it can be a heavy weight. Each country must work through its past, and reckoning with the past can help us seize a better future. Now, I know there are strong views in this chamber about the terrible events of 1915. And while there's been a good deal of commentary about my views, it's really about how the Turkish and Armenian people deal with the past. And the best way forward for the Turkish and Armenian people is a process that works through the past in a way that is honest, open, and constructive. We've already seen historic and courageous steps taken by Turkish and Armenian leaders. These contacts hold out the promise of a new day. An open border would return the Turkish and Armenian people to a peaceful and prosperous coexistence that would serve both of your nations. So I want you to know that the United States strongly supports the full normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia. It is a cause worth working towards."

It's about bloody time that a President said something about this, in a way that was honest, tactful, and constructive. The Turkish press is lovin' what Obama had to say today, both in the pro-secular and in the pro-religious spheres.
posted by markkraft at 12:31 PM on April 7, 2009


Good journalists don't print "good news" or "bad news" they print news, that is, things that are new, recent, or are anomalous. When you see a lot of bad news reported, that means that things are actually, in general, pretty good because bad things are outside the ordinary. Take comfort in bad news. You should worry when reporters start talking about how great things are happening.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:18 PM on April 7, 2009


"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."
posted by GuyZero at 2:04 PM on April 7, 2009


Disinformation does not mean false information. It means misleading information - misplaced, irrelevant, fragmented or superficial information - information that creates the illusion of knowing something, but which in fact leads one away from knowing.
-Neil Postman

posted by yoHighness at 6:22 PM on April 13, 2009


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