Issue 87 celebrates the power of words by reporting on efforts to preserve the world’s endangered languages

The new edition of Positive News magazine is a powerful celebration of words. With half of the world’s 7,000 languages set to vanish by the end of the century, the cover feature reveals how words are treasure troves of cultural diversity, and profiles the people working to document and protect them before it’s too late.

A special cover was commissioned for the issue, featuring inspiring words from endangered languages embossed in silver foil.

“As a magazine, words are the core of our craft; so we wanted to take the opportunity to actively preserve language ourselves,” says editor-in-chief Seán Dagan Wood. “We did this on the cover by visually celebrating words that reflect the positive approach of our publication. It’s a cover of beautiful words that encapsulate the magazine’s aim of making news beautiful.”

Our cover of beautiful words encapsulates the magazine’s aim of making news beautiful

Mandana Seyfeddinipur is director of the SOAS World Languages Institute and Endangered Languages Documentation Programme and was interviewed for the feature. She welcomed the magazine’s focus on the subject: “Positive News’ work shows the issue humanity is facing as our world’s languages fall silent at a dramatic speed, but at the same time it highlights how speakers themselves are stemming the tide – a perspective we need more of.”

The magazine cover, designed by Studio Blackburn, features words such as the Inuktitut word Piliriqatigiinniq, which means togetherness and community spirit; the Native American Lakota word, Woohitike, meaning the brave and courageous spirit that lies in every person, and Fago, used in the native language of the small Pacific Island of Ifaluk, which describes the combination of sorrow and optimism found in human compassion.

Studio Blackburn founder, Paul Blackburn, says: “Somehow the knowledge that these words have been printed and preserved on thousands of magazine covers is a small but positive achievement towards their preservation.”

To celebrate the magazine’s launch, Positive News’ #OurWorldIsBeautiful campaign seeks a bold reshaping of dominant media narratives. While the news is often told with ugly or divisive language, Positive News reports through a lens of progress and possibility, covering solutions while retaining a rigorous journalistic mindset.

Positive News is a pioneering media co-operative that publishes ‘constructive journalism’, a field that is growing rapidly as understanding grows about the impact of news on our perspectives, wellbeing and levels of engagement in society.

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