LIFESTYLE

'People Want To Believe In Themselves' Says The Editor Of Positive News, The World's First Positive Newspaper

20/06/2014 15:37 BST | Updated 20/06/2014 15:59 BST

With so much doom and gloom dominating the headlines of national papers, it's sometimes easy forget that nice things do still happen sometimes.

But thankfully there's one paper determined to remind us all about the good things in life.

Positive News, "the world’s first positive newspaper", reports on positive developments from across the world and takes a solution-focused perspective on the challenges facing society.

positive news

Speaking to HuffPost UK Lifestyle, Positive News editor Seán Dagan Wood explained the aims of the feel-good paper.

"We want to harness journalism to help create a world where everyone can thrive - a fair, equal, sustainable and fulfilling society.

"We share the same fundamental purpose as conventional journalism in that we want to inform people about things that are important and relevant to them, and to report truth in an accurate and accountable way. But what’s different is the lens we choose.

"We choose to report in a way that is inspiring and empowering, and which can help shine a light on the events, people and initiatives that are creating positive change."

The not-for-profit company was founded by the late Shauna Crockett-Burrows in 1993. As well as having an online following, Positive News has a print addition with a national circulation of 25,000 across the UK and is currently published four times per year.

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Seán believes people read the publication because it gives them hope, motivates them and energises them.

"It reminds them that despite the challenges that the world faces, there’s a lot of genuine progress taking place and that there’s another side to the coin.

"I think there’s a disconnection between the overall narrative that the news media creates about the world, and the world that we actually experience in our everyday lives.

"Deep down a lot of people intuitively want to believe in themselves, and want to believe in others and in the human potential. Positive News helps them to do this," he said.

One of the most popular stories on the site was about an initiative to crowdfund money, buy debts very cheaply on the secondary debt market, and then just write that debt off - relieving people collectively of millions of pounds worth of debt.

Seán said: "Our readers are drawn to examples of tangible positive change, where values such as kindness and co-operation are being enacted in the world in a way that opens up new possibilities for how we go about our lives and structure our societies."

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According to Seán, constantly reading negative news stories "harms our mental health and wellbeing". He directed me to a study from 1997 which showed positive and negative 14 minute TV news bulletins to separate groups.

The study found "participants who watched the negatively valenced bulletin showed increases in both anxious and sad mood, and also showed a significant increase in the tendency to catastrophize a personal worry."

"It can also disengage people from society; research by our media columnist, Cathrine Gydlensted, at the University of Pennsylvania, confirmed that negative news creates ‘learned helplessnes’ and passivity, whereas if the piece contains positive elements - while of course remaining accurate, balanced and critical where necessary - readers have an empowering emotional response and feel they can do something constructive with that information," Seán added.

The team at Positive News do not expect mainstream news to never report on wars ever again, but they do think reporting style should change.

"I think there are two fundamental ways in which the media could evolve that I would like to see - firstly a shift in the balance of what is reported, and secondly a shift in how news is reported.

"I think mainstream media could report more good news and give positive stories more prominence.

"But also when reporting on a problem, the media could take a more balanced approach and give a fuller picture by including more information about how a problem is being tackled or what solutions are being proposed," Seán said.

Here at HuffPost UK Lifestyle, our Third Metric ethos means we're all for anything that promotes wellbeing, wonder and giving - Positive News, keep the good news coming.