Have you noticed that lately, whenever we switch on the television, flip through the newspaper pages or surf on social media, we are confronted with a barrage of distressing news? The world depicted before us seems to be one consumed by floods, fires, accidents, earthquakes, wars, diseases and famines – a truly harrowing portrayal.
The media adage “If it bleeds, it leads” has long illustrated how news featuring violence, death and destruction tends to seize readers’ attention, dominating the news agenda, and despite our awareness of the detrimental impact these stories can have on us, it’s still difficult to look away.
Additionally, negativity drives online news consumption as users love bad news. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, energy crises, inflation, the recent coup in Nigeria and countless other distressing events dominate the narrative. It’s almost as though we cannot conclude the day without taking the daily dose of suffering and anguish.
We can indeed observe that this situation has deteriorated in recent years.
In my role as a journalist, I wholeheartedly support principled and accurate reporting, ensuring that people are well-informed about essential matters. Nonetheless, I firmly believe in recognizing the significance of positive and uplifting news, which holds equal importance to other types of news. Thus, I believe we should aim for a balanced approach that encompasses both perspectives.
Furthermore, as a journalist, I find myself grappling with this issue on a much deeper level. Unfortunately, throughout the day, I’m compelled to engage with a plethora of negative news rather than positive. After several days of such exposure, it becomes nearly impossible to maintain an optimistic view of the world, and I occasionally even find myself slipping into a state of depression.
I know I’m not the only one. Research consistently shows the adverse effects of consuming such negative news. Throughout the pandemic, multiple studies have linked news consumption to worsened mental health, revealing symptoms of depression, anxiety, hopelessness and worry.
The news stories we encounter daily, whether consciously acknowledged or not, inevitably shape our perspective in a negative way because of the overwhelming prevalence of distressing content. Given the difficulty of disconnecting from the world in this digital age, recalibrating our outlook becomes crucial.
But how can we achieve this recalibration?
Integrating more stories centered around acts of kindness into news coverage could serve as a remedy for the emergence of “mean world syndrome,” a perception distortion where individuals view the world as more dangerous than reality, ultimately fostering heightened fear, anxiety, and pessimism.
Research also highlights the positive impact of uplifting news, like the resurgence of bumblebees or successful peace talks, which can boost emotional well-being and inspire altruistic actions.
Now, I would like to introduce you to some uplifting news apps and websites.
First and foremost, let me shine a light on Goodable, a rapidly growing Canadian Muslim startup. Its principle is beautifully simple: “If it’s kind, it’s a goldmine.”
While the most gruesome tales often make it to the headlines or get urgent coverage, Goodable takes a completely different approach. It offers a tailored news feed designed to enhance your sense of self and optimism toward the world. To put it plainly, it is like a refreshing breeze.
No negativity. No politics. Only good news and stories that make you feel better about yourself and the world around you.
Creating positive change
“We’ve discovered that through exposing people to enough good news, their mental well-being sees improvement,” Goodable’s founder and warzone correspondent Muhammad Lila said in an exclusive interview with Daily Sabah.
Stating that if someone faces depression, anxiety, fear or hopelessness, a consistent diet of good news can effectively reduce their levels of depression and anxiety, Lila said: “This is an unprecedented approach, as news is often perceived as mere content to consume and then forget.
Contrary to this notion, we’ve recognized that news actually exerts an impact on the brain, altering its psychology in ways we hadn’t comprehended before. This realization is what leads to our transformative approach.”
Elaborating on the genesis of Goodable, Lila shared: “I’m a warzone correspondent. So most of my life covering war zones.”
Having been deeply involved in war reporting, Lila has also faced dangers like Daesh and the Taliban up close.
“There are at least three moments in my life where I’m lucky to have survived. And there’s a certain day when I don’t mind putting myself in danger. I’m okay with that. If it’s important and the world needs to know, I’m willing to take that risk,” he said.
“You see, we venture into places that others avoid. Over time, you get used to it. It’s my job. Like, you know, some people head to factories or offices, I ventured into war zones and that was my job,” he added.
“One day, I woke up and realized that I didn’t want to be the person on television that people associated with when something bad happened. Yeah, I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life showing people how bad the world is. I would rather show people how good the world can be. That’s when the idea of starting Goodable came to me.”
In contrast to many positive news apps that can become cluttered with excessive features, an overwhelming number of stories, or complex design choices, Squirrel News stays true to simplicity.
The team of journalists behind this constructive news platform carefully selects essential solution-focused news articles from credible sources and compiles them into daily digests. The best part? The app is completely free and relies mainly on voluntary contributions.
Good News Network
In the realm of uplifting news, the Good News Network stands as a prominent figure. For over 25 years, they’ve been injecting positivity into the digital realm. The pioneering work of their founder, Geri Weis-Corbley, has paved the way for various other affirmative news websites and resources, including Good Good Good.
You have the option to activate push notifications for topics that interest you, thereby sparing you from the anxiety of every phone notification.
The app is supported by advertisements and provides the possibility to remove all ads from the app for a monthly fee.
Brighten Your Day
Brighten Your Day (or BYD) offers itself as a positive social platform that empowers you to share heartwarming news articles that resonate with you, fostering connections with like-minded individuals.
While the app may appear dormant (with our most recent entry being the first in nine months), it remains fully functional. In fact, we effortlessly uploaded one of our treasured recent positive news stories, and it seamlessly appeared on the BYD news feeds with no hitches.
In a world often weighed down by negativity, this platform offers a breath of fresh air, reminding us that kindness, hope and uplifting stories abound. These kinds of apps and platforms covering positive and soft news can be a great reminder that there’s still so much goodness to celebrate.
In wrapping up, allow me to leave you with this thought:
Bad news: There’s a lot happening in the world.
Good news: There’s a lot happening in the world.
Ultimately, the perspective you choose to embrace is the brushstroke that paints your reality.