10 things we learned while making Positive News magazine issue 90

Issue 90 of Positive News magazine is out now, and it’s our favourite yet. Read on for 10 insights into the latest issue


1) Boys do cry

“All that ‘real men don’t cry bullshit?’ Yeah, we do. Real people cry,” said this issue’s cover star, ‘gangsta gardener’ Ron Finley, when we interviewed him in Los Angeles via Skype. Ron is just one of the people ‘rewriting the man code’ – redefining expectations of what it means to be a man today. For all the difficulties facing men, from mental health issues to concerns over how the automation of jobs is affecting men’s social roles, there are people working on solutions.

Across a 10-page feature in the new issue of Positive News magazine, we speak to those who are breaking down stereotypes and rebuilding brotherhood. Subscribe to get your copy.

2) Aussies love alcohol-themed emojis, but Russians favour romance

While researching our feature about the surprising positives in emojis, we came across some ?-inducing facts. Australians use double the average number of booze-themed symbols, while Russian speakers use three times as many romantic emojis than most. Which nation tops the chart for their use of emojis? C’est un secret! You’ll have to subscribe to find out.

3) Doggy paddle is an acceptable swimming stroke

This comforting fact surfaced as we put together our feature on the rise of mass participation sports. The Great Swim series has urged thousands of people to dip a toe into wild swimming for the first time, while the parkrun phenomenon has created a new breed of people “who didn’t think they were runners – but they are parkrunners”. Fancy limbering up for an uplifting journalistic marathon? Subscribe here and you’ll be sprinting through all the most inspiring stories of the past three months, in one beautifully designed magazine.

4) We need to know what a beautiful future might look like, as well as what’s wrong

“Our cultural problem isn’t the presence of post-apocalyptic storylines, but the virtual absence of images of a good, decent, beautiful future” suggests nature writer Richard Louv in the new issue. Without knowing what a more fulfilling relationship with the natural world could look like, we won’t reach it, he says.

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5) News can be pun-powered

The Positive News pun team were on form this issue, after we created an infographic about the renewable energy revolution. This double page spread, beautifully designed by the Give Up Art studio, mentions ‘green power’s big fans’ – the nations that are most enthusiastically embracing green energy, and describes how Britain is ‘rocking out’ (giving up coal). It also includes a peppering of ‘alternative (energy) facts’ that we’re sure even President Trump couldn’t argue with.

6) A picture tells a thousand words

This issue, we’ve worked with illustrator ‘Pâté’, also known as Paul Pateman: a graphic artist with a quick wit and a strong, simple aesthetic. Paul came up with the striking illustration for this issue’s feature about factchecking, in which he turned the volume down on a certain person well-associated with ‘fake news’. Paul has also worked with the likes of Time Out New York, The Washington Post, Wired Magazine and Transport for London.

And we also worked again with illustrator and printmaker Spencer Wilson, who devised the playful characters for our ‘Change the story, change the world feature. We sent him your feedback about which cliched media narratives you’d most like to see overturned, and Spencer let rip on some great figures that fly in the face of media stereotypes – from a bungee-jumping granny, to a grinning (non-angry) vegan.

7) Carrots may not really be carrots

‘Why do we call carrots that are grown with pesticides ‘carrots’ but organic carrots ‘organic carrots’? asks journalist Lauren Bravo. Why are flesh-coloured tights named so, when they really only refer to white skin tones? And what would happen if we stopped focusing on global ‘development’, and started ‘de-developing’ the world’s richest nations instead? Crunch away at this food for thought in the latest Positive News magazine.

8) It’s time for another summer of love

Our travel editor Aaron Millar donned his grooviest flares and flowers in his hair to catch up with some of the summer of love’s big characters over in San Francisco. They chewed the fat about the 1960s-utopian dream and why it matters in current political times. “Dream big, but then make those dreams real by living them,” advises Carolyn Garcia, the then-partner of Jerry Garcia from the Grateful Dead. Feeling game for a re-run of the 1967 Human Be-In? Turn on, tune in and sign up to read the feature in full.

9) Investigative journalism is alive and well

As public faith in the mainstream media wobbles like never before, we tracked down five leading investigative reporting outlets. They’re doing inspiring work, from the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism which has influenced changes to British policy on refugees, housebuilding and care homes, to the Storm Lake Times: a family-run local newspaper that won a Pulitzer Prize for uncovering the dodgy funding links between agricultural corporate giants and local government. Scoop-tastic.

10) Our community is positively fantastic

This issue, we catch up with the psychiatric ward that is switching to Positive News. NHS occupational therapist Mal Ure explains why she and her colleagues decided to improve patients’ media diets at the psychiatric ward where she works in Somerset.

While we fire up the coffee machine and toil late into the night to meet our print deadline: your support makes it all worthwhile. Whether it’s investing in a print subscription for yourself, giving somebody a gift subscription, ordering bulk copies to leave in your workplace, doctors’ waiting room or a local cafe, you are helping us change the news for good. Thank you! Now on to issue 91.

Support journalism that shares your values

As the first media organisation to take good news seriously, we are committed to rigorous standards. Plus we are a media co-op owned by readers where all profit is reinvested in our journalism. Support inspiring, trustworthy journalism by subscribing to Positive News magazine.